Waste not, want not.
It’s a motto dear to our hearts (and our stomachs) here at The Transition House.
Every year, local businesses donate literally tons of food to our residential recovery program.
Our in-house treatment center in St. Cloud, FL (where our administrative headquarters are also located) helps veterans struggling with a variety of mental health and substance abuse issues. We help them get on their feet again and provide one-on-one and group counseling, room, board, and a variety of support.
The men sleep in bunks in communal living quarters and are responsible for day-to-day upkeep of the center. They’re also in charge of cooking their own meals. And thanks to the generous donations from more than 20 local restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores, our residents eat very well.
We approached some of our sponsors for help; others approached us. These businesses provide food for the soul from the heart, and we couldn’t be more thankful.
Chimento’s Spaghetti House was one of the first local restaurants to reach out. Owned and operated for 24 years by Jimmy and Tina Chimento. They asked if The Transition House would want their day-old soup and bread. We said Heck yeah, not least of all because we're big fans of the old-world Italian eatery in downtown St. Cloud!
The Chimentos make all their food from scratch using recipes from Jimmy’s grandmother. Both sets of his grandparents immigrated here from Italy – half Sicilian, half Calabrese. Jimmy was born in New Jersey, but moved to St. Cloud nearly 60 years ago in his early teens. A lifelong restaurateur, he helped introduce Italian food to this corner of Central Florida, appealing to natives and transplants from the north.
Chimento’s is a casual restaurant with classic Italian-American touches like the red-checkered table cloths and a deli-style menu board. The Chimentos keep prices low and don’t serve booze to promote a family atmosphere in their restaurant.
They make most everything on the menu fresh daily. (Seriously, try their chicken salad on pizza bread. It sells out all the time, it’s that good!) And what they make too much of one day, we pick up the next. Leftovers from Chimento’s are a favorite in our resident-run kitchen.
The men in our veterans program make the daily food pick-ups from our donors, who span from Narcoossee Road all the way to S.R. 535.
Jimmy probably won’t like us mentioning him in our blog. He’s that kinda guy. Humble, hardworking, modest.
He said we needn’t thank him for doing something he knows is right. “That’s just the way I was raised,” he said. “People help you and you pass it along.” Amen, Jimmy.
Thanks to Chimento’s and all our food donors who help keep our kitchen full of food and our hearts filled with thanks. As the holidays approach, it reminds us of how truly grateful we are for their support.
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