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Volunteering Skills, Culinary Student Finds Home in Church Kitchen


Culinary arts technology student Mark T. Kriner Jr., of Williamsport, was looking for a way to give time to his community during Pennsylvania College of Technology’s winter break, while he had some to spare. He found that opportunity at Williamsport’s Antioch Baptist Church, where he contributed not only his time but the skills he is pursuing as a student.

The church serves a free breakfast and lunch to the Greater Williamsport community every weekday. Kriner asked to help, and according to the Rev. Sam Washington, he fit right in, quickly becoming part of the family.

Barbara Voss, a leading member of the Antioch congregation, shares an appreciative smile with Mark T. Kriner Jr.
Barbara Voss, a leading member of the Antioch congregation, shares an appreciative smile with Mark T. Kriner Jr.

“People from all cultures and walks of life are down there. … Frankly, he fits right in like a friend or a son with some of them. … I took to him right away,” Washington said.

He’s also capable, the pastor said.

Breaking bread "in the heart of the city"
Breaking bread “in the heart of the city”

“That’s his skill and he seems to enjoy it,” he said, noting that, from leading the kitchen to cleaning, Kriner shies away from nothing.

During the college’s winter break, Kriner spent five to six days a week in Antioch’s kitchen, volunteering close to 200 hours. In addition to the weekday meals, he helped the church to serve a Dec. 17 Christmas dinner for 300.

Antioch's Janice Todd publicly acknowledges Kriner's considerable contribution to a grateful new family.
Antioch’s Janice Todd publicly acknowledges Kriner’s considerable contribution to a grateful new family.

“They were so thankful I was there,” Kriner said. “I’ve never gotten so much appreciation in my life from people. It was a good experience. It was cool.”

So cool, that he’s made it a continuing effort now that classes are back in session, volunteering at Antioch on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Photos provided

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