Over 40 Years of Providing Hope
In the height of the recession in 1982, the Paterson Council of Priests, led by Monsignor Vincent E. Puma, saw the need to address hunger and homelessness in the community. The priests on the Council tithed a portion of their collections to fund a soup kitchen in the basement of the Sisters of Charity convent located at St. John’s Cathedral on Grand Street in Paterson.
Eva’s Kitchen was named for Sister Eva Hernandez, the first Kitchen Director, a Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception who had experience organizing food and housing assistance for migrant workers in her native Texas.
At the beginning, Eva’s Kitchen served simple meals of franks and beans to 30 hungry guests. It quickly became a community hub offering free medical and mental health screenings, as well as referrals to substance use programs, social services, and job opportunities.
A few years later emergency shelters were opened, followed by treatment and recovery programs for individuals suffering from addiction.
Over the last four decades, following in Msgr. Puma’s vision, countless volunteers, thousands of supporters, innumerable community groups, and dedicated staff have worked to integrate and expand the supportive services to meet our most vulnerable neighbors’ urgent needs.
Today, the Community Kitchen at Eva’s Village serves close to 1,000 meals a day and serves as a pathway to social services and behavioral health programs addressing hunger, homelessness, poverty, addiction and mental health issues, helping thousands of men, women, and children each year.
In 2009, Eva's Village bestowed a lifetime Achievement Award to Msgr. Puma. In 2012, Msgr. Puma was able to enjoy the 30th anniversary of Eva's Village, where his many friends were able to honor and thank him once more. His vision still guides all of us at Eva's Village.