Martha’s Community Kitchen to receive Franklin Chamber's Bovat award Jan 16

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Franklin County Chamber of Commerce presents Timothy Bovat Civic Involvement Award to Martha’s Community Kitchen 

Award presentation to be held at Peoples Trust Company in January 2020

St. Albans, VT – The Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce will present the 2019 Timothy Bovat Civic Involvement Award to Brother Bob Begley, ofs; Chef Cathy Cromack, and the staff & volunteers of Martha’s Community Kitchen. The award presentation will be held at the Chamber’s January Mixer on Thursday, January 16, 5:30 pm at Peoples Trust Company’s Kingman Street Branch.

This award has been presented in honor of Mr. Bovat by the Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Bovat Family since 2000, to an individual or group whose investment in the local community goes above and beyond the norm.

Martha’s Kitchen has grown from a tiny, church-run effort, which opened in St. Albans House in January 1984, to its current state: A restaurant-style hub for companionship, conversation, nourishment, where the patrons who dine there are treated with dignity. In their new location, at 139 Lake Street, the Kitchen has returned to its roots, continuing to offer “Peace and all Good” to everyone it serves.

This transformation could not happen without the commitment to compassion and humility exhibited by the Kitchen staff, volunteers and especially it’s Guardian, Brother Bob Begley, ofs. Brother Bob is a member of the Franciscans of St. Mary of the Angels Fraternity, an order based out of Beauport, Québec. As a “Brother,” he serves as a sibling to all people – a title he truly owns.

Originally from the Lowell, Mass, Brother Bob has been a St. Albans resident for twelve years. During this time his work assignments have reflected his love of community and desire to bring about the change for good. For the past five years Bob has been the Guardian of Martha’s Kitchen and has guided the thirty-five-year-old mission to its current place in the community, honoring the legacy and encouraging new growth and hope. 
Cathy Cromack, a practicing Buddhist and professional chef, journeyed from northern England, taking her all over the globe before making St Albans her home. For the past five years Cathy has been a volunteer at Martha’s Kitchen, primarily in the role of chef but over the past year embracing other areas of the mission including fundraising and community outreach.

Affectionately known to many as “the Franciscan and the Buddhist”, they have been friends for over a decade, a friendship forged in the common bond of love of community and have shared endeavors focused on seeing the GOOD, in a world where too often all attention is given to bad news and negativity. Their former collaboration ‘Community Soup’ met once a month and all were welcome to partake of homemade soup, friendship and conversation. Through their leadership, with the collaboration of over 150 volunteers, they have succeeded in turning the traditional perception of a soup kitchen upside down. In 2000, just over 9,000 meals were served at the Kitchen. In 2019, the Kitchen served 29,000 meals!

Compassion and dedication, combined with hundreds of hours of volunteer time are what keep this lively Kitchen a successful and much-needed centerpiece in our community. No one is ever turned away from the Kitchen. Whether one is hungry, knows he or she will need another meal later in the day, or simply wants a cup of hot coffee and conversation, all are welcome at Martha’s Community Kitchen.

PLUS: In conjunction with the Mixer and Award presentation, The Chamber will be collecting food for the Kitchen. A “food truck” will be parked outside the Bank on the night of the mixer. We invite all guests to bring something for the Kitchen from this list.
              For January, the Kitchen will need the following items:
                             Ground coffee


              Powdered creamer

              Spaghetti sauce

              Iced tea mix

              White tuna




Registration required: 
The registration link is located in the calendar listing for the event at

St. Albans, VT – The Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 5:30pm