Such was the case when the third-grade students of Holy Family School, participating in the Acts of Random Kindness group, embarked on their most recent undertaking. Under the direction of parent head Tina Kali, the leading ladies visited Selah Restaurant in Struthers for a lesson in bread baking, with the intention of donating the loaves to the Sojourner House. Kali said she thought the act of baking break “tied in with "Jesus is the bread of life... and the humbling act of baking bread for Thanksgiving.”
With that in mind, each packaged loaf of bread was adorned with a label that read, “By little hands with help from the Lord from above, this loaf of bread was made with lots of love. I am the bread of life.”
Enter Brian Palumbo, the second act in the production. Owner of Selah, Palumbo managed to renovate the old bank on South Bridge Street in Struthers, retaining its old world charm by using its brass teller cages, and keeping the original vault, in which seating is available. As for his head-chef talent, Palumbo said his grandma had him in the kitchen since he was small, and following a tour of Europe, his penchant for French/American cuisine became “a plethora of flavors.”
“It whet my palate for a lot of different cuisine," he said, calling the restaurant’s baked goods “our best-kept secret.”
A native of Struthers, Palumbo’s talents are not restricted to the restaurant setting, and extend into his expertise within the theatre, where he serves as president of Top Hat Productions, a nonprofit volunteer-driven Christian organization. Top Hat Productions directs its attention toward the issues most affecting the people of the community through stage performances and community outreach. Although Top Hat makes its home at the Fairview Arts and Outreach Center on Youngstown-Poland Road, dinner theater productions are also offered periodically in the upstairs of Selah Restaurant.
Donating his time, services and supplies, Palumbo, who explained that Selah, which comes from psalms, means to stop and ponder, or to take pause, led the girls of ARK step-by-step through the process of break making, later preparing homemade cinnamon rolls on which they dined at the available vault seating.
The final player in this act of random kindness was Sarah Macovitz, case worker for Sojourner House, who said of the facility, “It’s a wonderful thing that we do there,” adding, “I love my job.” Macovitz, who picked up the completed loaves of bread, shared that the girls of ARK donated 20 loaves in all, adding, “We have a full house right now, so it’s definitely going to go to good use.”
Although deserving of a curtain call, this most recent act of random kindness by the young ladies of ARK is certainly no finale, as the group has many upcoming encore performances. Accompanied by many supporting roles, the fateful casting of the players in this production crossed paths briefly, managing to prove yet again, that one heartfelt act of random kindness truly does deserve another.
Photos By Kathleen Palumbo, Town Crier correspondent
With chefs Hannah Balash and Courtney Dee looking on, chef Simone Izzo takes her turn adding ingredients for the bread dough. The loaves were lovingly made and donated to the Sojourner House by members of the Acts of Random Kindness group at Holy Family School.