Media Coverage

Gemma's Angels featured on wgal tv8

WGAL TV 8 News team followed us on January 25, 2017 on one of our produce distribution rounds in Lebanon and Dauphin Counties.


TAKING THE PRODUCE TO THE PEOPLE: MIDSTATE CHARITY RETHINKS FARMER’S MARKET

November 6, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) - Nov 4, 2016 - A Dauphin County food charity is experimenting with a new way to get healthy food options to people who might not get them otherwise.

Click here for the complete article.

Gemma's Angels Founder Receives Volunteer of the Year award by the United Way of the Capital Region

Pictured on the right are abc27-WHTM TV Anchor/Reporter Valerie Pritchett, event emcee and Denise Britton, Shalom House Executive Director with Gemma's Angels founder Mike Macchioni. Mike was recognized for outstanding volunteer service as a nominee for Volunteer of the Year award by the United Way of the Capital Region on Thursday, April 25, 2013. Thanks to the folks at Shalom for recognizing our work!

Area Man Delivers Food to Shelters

By Nick Malawskey
PennLive
October 03, 2010

Mike Macchioni is a big guy with two bad knees and a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush.

But beneath his rough exterior and expansive chest beats a heart of gold.

Almost two decades ago, Macchioni started volunteering at local soup kitchens and shelters. He would donate food or organize a Christmas party. Eventually, he started donating fresh produce, usually once a week.

Three years ago, after his mother died, he created a nonprofit, Gemma’s Angels, which he named after her. This summer, he started a donate-a-tomato program, encouraging backyard gardeners to help their communities.

It’s 10 a.m. on a recent Friday, and Macchioni’s making his weekly rounds. Outside of the Shalom House shelter in Harrisburg, he’s wedged himself into his small, well-worn Saturn sedan.

The brakes squeal, some of the interior paneling is missing and, between him and his children, the car has logged untold miles.

In the backseat and trunk are boxes of fresh produce — tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and apples — he picked up the day before at a farmers auction in Manheim.

The brakes squeal, some of the interior paneling is missing and, between him and his children, the car has logged untold miles.

In the backseat and trunk are boxes of fresh produce — tomatoes, bell peppers, potatoes and apples — he picked up the day before at a farmers auction in Manheim.

“One thing I’ve run into with these shelters is ... they don’t get [much] produce,” he said as he dials the Shalom House’s line.

“Hey, it’s Mike the produce guy. I’m out front.”

A couple of volunteers come out and chat with Macchioni. There’s some good-natured haggling over the veggies — the bell peppers are in demand — but Macchioni has other stops to make, so Shalom can’t have them all.

To the volunteers, Macchioni’s an old friend.

“[Macchioni] has always been there,” shelter director Lori Hoffman said. “He really is unique in that way.”

“Unique” is a word people often used to describe Macchioni. So is “character.”

The Hershey native has a loud voice, he’s self-diagnosed with adult attention deficit disorder, and he doesn’t sugarcoat his opinions, whether political, religious or philosophical.

When trying to pull out of an alley, he doesn’t find an opening in a line of cars. The moment sends him on a curse-laden soliloquy bemoaning the lack of civility in modern life. A few blocks later, he redresses his grievances by stopping on a busy thoroughfare to let a “pappy” make his way across the road.

But he’s also the first to admit that he’s not perfect.

He recently filed for divorce, and he doesn’t look after his health. He has occasional financial problems.

“In between all of this, I’m trying to pay my bills, which I’m not very good at,” he said.

He used to provide training at mobile-phone companies. Now he designs and builds Web pages for community organizations and businesses. Most months it pays the bills, he said.

What he has left over he uses to help those in need. He also solicits donations from friends and family.

A buck here, a buck there and it adds up, he said.

Driving down Cameron Street between stops, he spies the Holsum discount bakery.

“You think they’ll want some bread?” he asks, though he knows the answer. For less than $15, he picks up 16 loaves and four boxes of cookies.

“They never have cookies,” he said by way of explanation. Most of the cookies, the bread and the last of the vegetables are dropped off at the Uptown Soup Kitchen at the Camp Curtin Memorial-Mitchell United Methodist Church before he circles back to Shalom House. He saved two boxes of cookies for the volunteers and clients of the shelter.

Macchioni has a soft spot for the group that he can’t explain. It was one of the first he started working with, and it seems he always has a project there.

“I think it’s our responsibility to give to other people,” he said. “And now, more than ever, the need is greater.”

The Shalom shelter has been full for months.

Like many other shelters, it’s struggling as public budgets and grants get cut back.

Macchioni said the bad economy has hurt his Web-based business, but he’s still managing to pay the bills and find money to help others.

“You just kind of juggle,” he said. “I keep above water.”

He doesn’t feel sorry for himself. After all, the challenges he faces are a far cry from the challenges faced by those who are making do on the streets.

“We think we know what tough is,” he said as he drove the Saturn away from the shelter. “We don’t.”

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/10/area_man_delivers_food_to_loca.html

GEMMA'S ANGELS RETURNS TO GIVING AFTER BEING GROUNDED

September 17, 2015

A man who gives donated fresh produce to shelters and soup kitchens in Dauphin and and Lancaster counties had been grounded. News 8's Barbara Barr reports on how he got back to his giving ways.

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