Satisfying hunger brings satisfaction to volunteers

PLATTSBURGH - Helping the less fortunate is something near and dear to Frank F. Pabst's heart.

"When I was a kid, I was on the bum. I ate in soup kitchens, in hobo camps and any place I could grub up food," said Pabst.

That kind of life wasn't easy, Pabst said. He recalled being thrown off a freight train once in Chicago and going to work for a diner across from the stockyard. It helped him to get warm meals and put a little change in his pocket - literally.

"I got 50 cents a night and left over food and I could sleep in the back room," said Pabst. "It gave me a good appreciation for what some people go through.

These days, Pabst is on the other side of the equation, serving as the community meal coordinator for Trinity Episcopal Church in Plattsburgh. Having experienced hard times himself, Pabst said it's what led him to take on the position nearly five years ago.

"It gives me the chance to pay that back a little bit," Pabst said, referring to the help he received. "At least in my own mind."

Pabst got involved with the church's weekly offering when asked by the church's previous pastor, the Rev. John Sorenson, who established the program 20 years ago. Pabst put the experience he gained over the years - including owning his own restaurant at one point - to good use.

Working in a state-of-the-art kitchen, which he credits to Sorenson establishing while head of the church, Pabst said it warms his heart to bring warm meals to those who need them. During the traditionally colder months, from January through the end of March, the church expands on its weekly Wednesday offering to include a second weekly meal on Saturdays. Working in symbiosis with St. Peter's Church - which offers a soup kitchen Monday nights at Seton Academy - Pabst said it helps ensure stomachs don't stay empty for long.

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