A community effort

Playwicki Farm unveils brand new kitchen during ribbon-cutting ceremony

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

All smiles: Pictured (L-R) are Joe McFadden and Deborah Kaplan, township supervisors, John McMenamin, township manager, Rose McMenamin, vice president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation board, Patrice Luongo, board president, Keith Wesley, chairman of the board of supervisors, Deborah Bachovin, board member, and Ray Weldie and Ed Shannon, township supervisors. Photo: Stu Coren

Four years ago, an idea was set into motion. Playwicki Farm needed a kitchen. It didn’t have to be anything large or lavish, just a functional space. The board of the Playwicki Farm Foundation had a clear picture of what it envisioned and a construction team to execute it, but there was one vital thing missing — funding. The project was set to cost more than $76,000, an amount the foundation didn’t casually have lying around.

So, in true community fashion, Lower Southampton Township banded together to make the kitchen a reality, and in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 4, the completed project was unveiled.

If there’s one word to describe the space, it’s “modern.” With fresh, white cabinets, a large preparation table and all-new appliances, the commercial kitchen screams 21st century while holding fast to the historic atmosphere of Playwicki Farm.

For Rose McMenamin, vice president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation, the completed kitchen is a testament to what can happen when a community unites for a common purpose. When the board sat down for its initial planning phase, one thing was agreed upon from the start — only local businesses would be used to complete the project.

First on board was Michael Lesher of Regal Construction Management, who was able to give the foundation an estimate on the cost. From there, concrete plans took shape as members began to picture what the farm’s first kitchen would look like.

“It was a hole in the ground,” McMenamin said of the original space.

Soon after, a number of local individuals, businesses and organizations stepped up to help. A generous donation of $6,000 came from Wheelabrator Technologies after market manager Mike Dougherty toured the farm and space of the future kitchen.

“That was huge,” McMenamin said. “We don’t get contributions like that very often.”

But the foundation continued to experience that generosity time and again. The Lower Southampton Industrial Development Authority, a local committee in the township, provided a whopping $10,000 for the project. Another $6,000 came from the Feasterville Rotary Club after the board met with its president, Gary Bowman, two years ago.

The Feasterville Business Association also got involved through its annual golf outing. Each year, the organization donates $500 of event proceeds to Playwicki, but doubled it to $1,000 to better assist. Another $1,000 came from the Ukrainian Selfreliance Credit Union, a new business in the area. After a number of additional fundraising initiatives throughout the year, including A Taste for Playwicki, the foundation finally had its necessary $76,000.

“It was really with the help of the township,” McMenamin said.

Inside the kitchen proudly sits two memorabilia items to honor all who had a hand in making its completion a reality. A plaque lists the names of each sponsor while a silver tray is engraved with the names of both board members and sponsors.

Everlasting honor: Rose McMenamin (left) and Patrice Luongo (right), vice president and president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation, display a sterling silver tray engraved with the names of the sponsors who contributed money for the design and installation of the new commercial kitchen. Photo: Stu Coren

Now that the kitchen is finished, McMenamin has a few ideas in mind for what it will be used for, including a variety of private and public events. While Playwicki is far from a restaurant or caterer, she hopes to work with local chefs who may require the space to prepare dishes. She would also love to have the chefs host intimate dinners or small tastings as new fundraisers for Playwicki.

After the ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony, guests were able to tour the kitchen and its surrounding grounds. In attendance was McMenamin, Patrice Luongo, president of the Playwicki Farm Foundation, Lesher of Regal Construction Management, Bernadette Moss of Cabinet Connections who helped install the kitchen, Don Rubin, foundation treasurer, Matt Gilbert, Deborah Bachovin and June Olsen, board members, Dougherty of Wheelabrator Technologies, Bowman of the Feasterville Rotary, Ed Shannon, Ray Weldie, Joe McFadden and Deborah Kaplan, township supervisors, Keith Wesley, chairman of the board of supervisors, and John McMenamin, township manager.

Playwicki Farm is located at 2250 Bridgetown Pike in Feasterville. For more information, call 215–357–7300 ext. 326 or visit www.playwickifarm.org.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com