Pastor Richie Portalatin is often one of the first ones to roll up his sleeves to get things done in Milford.
He helped get a Code Purple Shelter at the Multi-Cultural Church and Community Center that he oversees as a nondenominational Christian pastor; he gives out toys to needy children at Christmas in a parking lot beside Hardee’s, and he provides food for the hungry.
Since moving the Multi-Cultural Church and Community Center to 105 NE Front Street downtown last year, Portalatin has been a very busy man.
Q What made you want to become a pastor?
A It was always a passion when I was young. As I was growing up, I was Catholic and I always wanted to become a priest.
Q How big a move was it last year when the Multi-Cultural Church and Community Center moved downtown?
A It was a huge move. It multiplied rapidly in events. This is the church that never sleeps, and the community center, as well, now. I wouldn’t change it for anything. Actually, we’ve got a lot more stuff coming up and it just keeps expanding and helping the community – not just this community, but the outskirts.
Q Is there any one service that the Multi-Cultural Church and Community Center provides that you are most proud of?
A When Code Purple launched [last December] I was really proud of that and I saw dreams come true, which was taking people off the street and giving them shelter, which it seems like I’ve been working on forever. When the homeless people come here it’s not for them to sit around and lounge and have a bologna sandwich; we set them up in positions where they need to go. We provide resources for them and give them a direction.
Q How would you say the community of Milford has accepted you?
A With open arms. It’s been very good. They’re working with us; sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, but anywhere you go it’s like that. Milford is a good community and I love it. This is my hometown and we take care of it.