Cooking up help for stranded travelers

April 20, 2010 2:57:20 PM PDT
John Vingara's culinary students at Somerset Vocational school are getting more than cooking instructions. Beyond the mixing and melting, the spreading and slicing, the lesson on this day was compassion.

"It's pretty amazing for him to take time out of his day and take all of this food and everything to people who never even asked for it," one student said.

John's students are preparing 70 pounds of baked ziti, ham and cheese sandwiches, brownies, and slices of cake to feed the passengers stranded at Newark Liberty airport ever since volcanic ash interrupted air travel.

"All they are feeding them is potato chips and snacks, cookies and cakes," Vingara said. "They're saying thanks, thanks for all you've done. It's really nothing, but a couple of hours of my time."

John not only got his students involved, but he also involved his community. He planned to go home Tuesday night and collect all the food his neighbors have donated to make more meals to feed the passengers.

John and his family went even farther, hosting a stranded family in their home.

"For everybody who is an American stuck in Europe, maybe somebody's family will be nice to them and take care of them," Vingara said.

John immediately started putting all this together after seeing on Eyewitness News the people stuck thousands of miles from home and in need. He hopes his story will inspire others to try to make a difference.