Helping the Hungry
by Mike Duffy –  Manufacturing Engineering Manager

‘Tis the season for giving, and the Coghlins did just that…providing the means to help feed the hungry in one of our neighborhood communities.

grace-houseThe Grace House is a small Evangelical church located on Beech Street in Framingham. They provide meals for the homeless and the needy, all free of charge.

I had the pleasure of volunteering there for my local church, and saw that The Grace House needed some TLC – like the TLC they show the community by serving meals on weekends to those less fortunate. They have been serving thousands of meals in the nine years since they were established in 2005. Their stove owed them nothing.

When I went to light the stove to begin cooking that night’s meal, the igniter clicked much like the tired starter of an old car. The stove burner grates were cherry red with wear, and they reminded me of a blacksmith’s masterpiece waiting on an anvil for the first hammer strike.

gh1 As soon as I saw the stove, I heard the Coghlins voices in my head – the words “Caring Associate” ringing in my ears like sleigh bells. At that moment, I knew I had to take action. Much like the blacksmith, we were going to help craft a beauty.

The next day, I approached the Coghlins about The Grace House and shared my experience. Being the big-hearted family that they are, the Coghlins were more than happy to help. Before long, The Grace House had a shiny new stove in their beloved kitchen, and was able to provide meals for years to come to the many needy and hungry people that flood into their doors, especially in the chilly months to come. The smells of freshly cooked pasta, together with the wispy steam wafting from the plump meatballs, would feed many growling stomachs that night.

Before the stove was delivered, I looked around and thought “if this place were any smaller, it could fit on the upper corner of an envelope.” I walked around and noticed the scuff marks on the baseboards from the many shoes that had passed through their doors. With trusty paint brush in hand, I popped open the first can of “old blue jeans” and got to work.

My church friend George and I had a great time that night, laughing and painting – excited at the thought of the “next batch” seeing our labor of love… We knew that the fresh coat of paint would give this place a new life, much like The Grace House gives new life through its message and works of faith. This place was special, and it needed special care.

With each brush stroke, my head rang with each clink against that anvil, molding and shaping this place into my vision. With each brush stroke, my smile grew bigger. George and I both knew ours wouldn’t be the only smiles to come.

After anxiously waiting a few days, the delivery truck rolled up to the front of 20 Beech Street. The crunching of street sand was exploding in my head like firecrackers. The delivery men were quick and efficient, like the changing of the guards. As they hauled “old faithful” away, in my mind I saluted her like the proud soldier she was. “Thank you for your service, but you deserved a much needed break.”

The plumber arrived the next day, the hollow sound of his tool bucket rattled like the thump of a battlefield band drum. He was on a mission, and what better place to have one!

He jumped up on the counter like a diver in an Olympic swim meet – not an easy task for a 6’1, 240 pound man. After 10 minutes of huffing and puffing, it ended with “yer all set!”

I had to wait a few more days for the “christening meal”, and knew this would be the best Christmas present The Grace House would get this year.

Many deepest and heartfelt thanks go out to the Coghlins… Their giving spirit helped give the gift that will keep on giving – and feeding – for years to come!




The Grace House is always looking for help – if you’d like to donate or volunteer, please visit: