Katie Safley By Katie Safley | November 7, 2016

An Oven for Ichupampa in memory of Grandma Rose

The following is a letter written by QB Board Secretary, Dr. Chuck Gulotta. He is calling upon his community to help raise funds to purchase a bread oven for the reconstructed Community Kitchen in Ichupampa.

Dear family and friends,

chuck_grandmaThe kitchen is often the heart of any home and certainly for me, a kid growing up in a large Italian family, that was the case. The aromas, lively conversations and bustle of activity are all evocative of a thriving, happy home for many of us. I have powerful memories of watching my Grandma Rose pounding away at a new batch of dough for the day’s fresh bread. It almost seemed magical to watch the bread rise under a careful array of dishtowels. I also loved watching her cut parallel lines across the top each loaf before she applied a light brush of egg wash followed by a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The best part of the process was smelling the bread baking, knowing that I would be allowed to have a piping hot piece with butter once it was done.

As an adult I now recognize this was a true labor of love for a family to whom she devoted her life. I am sure I am not the only one with memories of Grandma Rose’s kitchen and know my cousins and extended family that followed us have all experienced the same. While we all may not have had the good fortune to know Grandma Rose or grow up in a similar environment, we can all appreciate the importance of a good meal and the value of community. It’s for this reason I write this letter to all my family and friends.

While on a recent medical and humanitarian mission in Ichupampa, Peru I walked through dirt streets to see a town that lost 70% of the homes, it’s church and most importantly, a senior center that fed over 200 senior adults and 100 children of the town every day. I walked through the destroyed 2-story building of once a vibrant community center where the seniors and children gathered to eat and receive what is often their only meal of the day.

The good news is that Quechua Benefit, the group I am involved in, has raised over $70k to rebuild the senior center. As a board member, I was challenged to raise $8k to outfit the kitchen, to include a traditional Peruvian bread oven, which seemed very fitting. I took this task in honor of my Grandma Rose, who fed anyone who came to her, whether stranger or family.

The Quechua Benefit Board has agreed to name the bread oven after Grandma Rose, and we will hang a plaque in her honor upon its completion.

I ask family and friends to help with whatever you can to make this come true. I am going to kick this off with a healthy donation to get things started; no donation is too small. Every amount will help and will be greatly appreciated by the people of Ichupampa, Peru.

–Chuck

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