Changing Lives

Dayton Ministry Is Making A Difference

Friends and family of Angie Mardino were very skeptical when she bought the old Dayton Hotel in 2006, because the structure had been vacant for 11 years, needed numerous repairs and a lot of TLC and she was a single woman. Sheer determination to follow where she believed the Lord was leading has blessed thousands of lives in four counties and she isn’t finished yet. Photos by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

DAYTON — A return visit to The Master’s Plan Cafe in Dayton has revealed much growth and many positive changes since they were featured on July 2, 2011.

“There have been so many lives changed and so many lives surrendered to Christ,” said Angie Mardino-Miller, founder and executive director. “We have seen so many people who struggled with drug and alcohol addiction stop. What I’ve learned and what makes us different is because first we feed them. Feeding them gets them to trust us and then we can minister to them.”

Miller felt compelled to buy the sprawling, dilapidated building that once housed the Dayton Hotel, even though it had sat vacant for 11 years. She felt God was revealing his plan to her in three dreams where she heard music playing and saw people eating in a 50s-style cafe. He continued to reveal the vision by placing more goals on her heart though out the years since the building’s acquisition in 2006, she said.

Back in 2011, the building was used for mission work and community functions with Mardino-Miller claiming 3,000 people were helped. The plan was to use the two upper apartments to house people with life-devastating situations, such as battered women and burned-out families. This vision and the ministry has grown exponentially since then. Some of the upstairs rooms are rented by way of monetary payment or volunteer hours to the ministry. One apartment is used for pastor retreats. In recent years a house, donated by Joe and Janet Vogtli, is being used for emergency housing for families.

Her goal of using the building to give back to the community that had provided the resources and the volunteers to do the work has been far surpassed. The ministry has grown beyond the massive building to other nearby structures. She has seen unending miracles take place by way of hundreds of volunteers, including union steamfitters and electricians, donations of materials, used and new appliances and funds, as well as a jar containing $3,300 found in a chimney. Thousands of pounds of fresh and canned foods are donated annually. The biggest and most exciting miracles are the lives that have been turned around.

Angie Mardino-Miller has seen lives changed at The Master’s Plan Cafe and The Master’s Plan Community Church in Dayton. Sam’s Carrot Cake, Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies and Spaghetti Pie are in the foreground.

Fancher Windows and Doors donated drywall for the very large meeting room and arranged for helpers from their church for the installation. Men from Cleveland Hill Presbyterian Church painted the room. Prisoners from Collins Correctional Facility have helped with projects, too.

“Ron Klubek, a corrections officer, has been so dedicated to helping the ministry and so dedicated to walking with the prisoners he works with. I have a lot of respect for that man,” Miller said. “You can tell he’s genuine. He wants to work with these guys and he gives positive reinforcement.”

On the days when volunteers are present, mostly Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, meals are served with passersby being welcome to partake. The doors are thrown open at various times throughout the year for special dinners.

“There are only two rules at the Master’s Plan Cafe; If you’re going to eat with us, you’re going to pray with us and you’re not going to use the Lord’s name in vain,” Miller said. “I dare say 80 percent of people who get involved in this ministry end up recovering and staying sober. God put this on my heart, ‘if you’re going to expect to minister to the hardest of hearts, don’t expect them to come all cleaned up.'”

In 2010 the Dayton food pantry was set into operation two days per month at the location. Today 15-18 volunteers run the pantry every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a building next door. The programs are income-based and non-income-based. The well-organized set-up has the recipients signing in upon entering, taking a seat and shopping with a shopping cart when called. The choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, protein, grains and refrigerated and frozen items. Occasionally pet food is available, made possible by a Hamburg family.

“We serve an average of 130 families in three hours when the Food Express truck is here,” said the director. “We give recipes and sometimes cook dishes to be sampled.”

“We’re hauling between 11,000 and 16,000 pounds of food every month,” she said, referring to the large truck they now own. They have a tractor with a fork lift for moving pallets. A used walk-in cooler was donated and local farmers donate beef and pork on occasion. A family has donated funds to add an addition onto two sides of the building, for cement work in the driveway and for other uses.

“We touch four counties. We’re seven miles from Erie County, 12 miles from Chautauqua County and we’re located in Cattaraugus County. We have a family from Niagara County that stops on their way back from getting wood,” she said. “Sam’s Club in Lakewood used to donate to us, so it is a sad thing (that they have closed).”

The Master’s Plan Ministry received the “Cattaraugus County Agency of the Year Award” by the Food Bank of Western New York and was recognized by the New York Department of Health for participating in the Healthy Pantry Initiative.

Some other ministries that take place in and from the old hotel are bi-monthly senior citizen gatherings from May-October, an outreach providing clothes and household items to those in need and an outreach supplying new shoes for children and adults when supplies are available. The ministry works closely with Cattaraugus County Probation office, which sends people in need of doing community service. The local community uses the facility for a gathering place. A free Giving Back dinner is served the day after Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some deliveries made to housebound residents. Boxes are delivered in December to families who have suffered devastating circumstances.

After 11 years of maintaining a single lifestyle, the registered nurse felt the Lord sent her Bob Miller, the man who became her husband on Oct. 13, 2012. Miller, who works for a signature mechanical contractor designing programmable logic controllers, showed up with 20 men from Christian Motorcyclists Association after seeing a newsletter with a prayer request for a new heating system considerably reducing the cost.

“I believe because of our obedience and because of our faithfulness God blessed me with a beautiful husband with a heart to serve the Lord,” she said.

The couple have each become ordained pastors and began the non-denominational The Master’s Plan Community Church in April 2014.

“My husband spent most of his adult life in a Pentecostal church. I was raised Catholic. I spent 14 years at the Free Methodist Church in Gowanda and 15 years at Forestville Wesleyan. If you’d told me I was becoming a pastor back then, I would have told you you were crazy,” Miller said.

“I don’t know of any other ministry that is 100 percent volunteer,” she added. “We don’t accept a stipend for Sunday service.”

Miller said she believes the cafe she saw in her dream is going to come to fruition in 2018. It will be like an old-fashioned 50s-60s diner with blue plate specials providing 15-20 jobs. A new dental ministry will be the first ministry to benefit from the proceeds of the cafe, but not solely, as other ministries will benefit later.

“We’ve never had a loan against this building. That’s why it’s taken a decade to come to completion,” she said.

The ministry currently touches 6,500 people, living up to their mission statement which is “Touching, teaching and transforming lives one family at a time, with fun, food and family values with Jesus Christ as our guide.”

The Master’s Plan Ministries is a non-denominational non-profit ministry located at 9586 Railroad Avenue, Dayton, New York. The Master’s Plan Community Church Sunday School for adults and children is at 10 followed by the worship service at 11 a.m. The telephone number is 725-9229.

Texas Sheet Cake (Debi Anderson)

2 sticks butter

1 c water

4 T cocoa

2 c sugar

2 c flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

1/2 c sour cream

1 tsp soda

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Grease a large cookie sheet with sides. In saucepan mix butter, water and cocoa and then bring to a boil. Pour into large bowl. In a small bowl mix sugar, flour and salt.

Gradually add dry mixture to chocolate, Mix well, blending between additions. Add eggs, sour cream and soda. Pour into well-greased cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Prepare frosting. Frost immediately when cake is done.

Frosting

1 stick butter

4 T cocoa

6 T milk

1 lb powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix frosting approximately 15 minutes before cake is done. Melt butter in saucepan. Add cocoa and milk and heat just until mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat. Gradually beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. When completely blended, add walnuts. Spread on cake as soon as it is removed from the oven.

Blackberry Cobbler (Debi Anderson)

1 1/4 c sugar, divided

1 c self-rising flour

1 c milk

1 stick butter

2 c blackberries (frozen or fresh)

whipped cream or ice cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a round ceramic pie plate. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup sugar with flour. Add milk, whisking until combined. Melt butter and then gently whisk into batter until smooth. Pour batter in buttered dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top, distributing them evenly. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 1 hour or until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Spaghetti Pie (Angie Miller)

6 oz spaghetti

2 T butter

2 eggs, well beaten

1/3 c parmesan cheese

1 lb ground beef

1/2 c onion

1/2 c chopped green pepper

6 oz tomato paste

1 c tomato sauce

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 c cottage cheese

1/2 c mozzarella cheese

Cook and drain spaghetti, Stir in butter, eggs, parmesan cheese. Press into a buttered 10″ pie pan.

Cook ground beef, onions and green peppers. Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce, oregano and garlic powder. Spread cottage cheese over spaghetti crust. Spread with tomato mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Place mozzarella cheese on top and bake 5 minutes longer.

Soft Cut-Out Sugar Cookies (Ruth Ann Rogers)

1 c butter, soft

2 c sugar

2 eggs

1 c milk

1 tsp salt

3 tsp vanilla

3 tsp baking powder

2 tsp soda

5-6 c flour

Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs and milk, mixing thoroughly. Add salt, vanilla, baking powder and soda. Beat well. Add flour one cup at a time. (Do not use too much flour or the cookies will be tough.) Refrigerate dough. After chilling, roll out on floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. BAKE at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until faintly brown color.

Frosting

1 c butter, soft

4 c confectioners’ sugar

2 tsp vanilla

3-4 T milk

Combine ingredients. Beat until smooth consistency. Add more milk if needed.

Sam’s Famous Carrot Cake (Teresa Heitzenrater)

2 c flour

2 tsp soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

2 c carrots, finely shredded (8oz or 4 medium carrots)

1 c flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

1 c walnuts, chopped

8 oz crushed pineapple with juice

1 c raisins

3 eggs

3/4 c buttermilk

3/4 c vegetable oil

1 1/2 c sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Sift together flour, soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.

Mix together carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins in a separate bowl. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in fruit and nut mixture. Add flour mixture, combining well. Pour into 2-8” round pans or a 9″ x 13” pan that has been greased. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes for 8″ rounds or 50-60 minutes for 9” x 13″ pan or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool completely in pans on a rack for 11/2 hours. Frost.

Frosting

1/2 stick butter

8 oz cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla

2-3 T milk (for desired smoothness)

2 C confectioners’ sugar

In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Stir in vanilla, milk and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until smooth.

Shamrock Milkshake (Debi Anderson)

6 c vanilla ice cream

1 1/2 c 2 percent milk

15 drops green food coloring, divided

1 1/4 tsp peppermint extract

1 c heavy whipping cream

1 T powdered sugar

green sprinkles

Add ice cream, milk, half food coloring and extract to blender container. Blend. Add more food coloring, if desired. With electric mixer, whip cream until peaks begin to form. Add sugar and whip until stiff peaks form. Pour milkshakes into glasses. Top with whipped cream and garnish with sprinkles.

COMMENTS