Mercado Family Recognized at Vineland Soup Kitchen’s Night for the Needy Event


Photo of Mercado family courtesy of Carlos Mercado.

AC JosepH Media

VINELANDVineland Fire Capt. Carlos Mercado and his family were recognized by the Vineland Soup Kitchen and Spirit and Truth Ministries on Saturday, March 2 during its third annual Night for the Needy dinner dance at Merighi’s Savoy Inn.

In the sold-out event that was made up of local dignitaries and supporters of the soup kitchen and ministries, the Mercados — Carlos and Kristie along with their sons Sebastian and Dominic — were recognized for their commitment to helping the poor and unfortunate in the community, Cumberland County and beyond. The family was in attendance to receive the recognition.

Hispanic Leadership and Community

The Mercado family has touched many in the region with their community service, charitable donations, or simply offering a helping hand, exemplifying the true spirit of humanity. The family has been recognized by numerous nonprofit groups and elected local, county, state and federal officials for their volunteerism and fundraising efforts.

Capt. Mercado, along with his firefighting duties, sits on the Cumberland County Tax Board. He was a former Vineland School board member, Cumberland County commissioner and longtime president of Cumberland County Board of Social Services. He has volunteered with numerous nonprofits across the State of New Jersey helping to raise millions of dollars that have helped improve the quality of life of its residents.

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Kristi Mercado is a first-grade special education teacher at Petway Elementary School in Vineland. In 2022, she was selected as the Petway Teacher of the Year for her excellence in teaching.

“She is truly a master teacher and the unsung hero of the Mercado family,” Capt. Mercado said. “She is the great woman not ‘behind’ but ‘beside’ the Mercado men.”

The couple are active members of their unions and volunteer with numerous nonprofit groups, tutoring, mentoring students and families, helping with fundraising efforts to help the homeless, combatting food insecurities, providing affordable housing, youth sport participation, educational scholarships and cancer research.

Sebastian Mercado is a graduate of Cumberland County Technical Education Center. Former captain of the Vineland High School cross country and track and field teams, he is currently an honors freshman at the New Jersey Institute of Technology majoring in mechanical engineering on a full academic scholarship.

READ: Sebastian Mercado wins Hispanic Leadership Scholarship

Photo courtesy of Carlos Mercado.

He is also the co-founder of Dom’s Pasta Party. Dom’s Pasta Party has collected thousands of pounds of pasta and sauce and raised thousands of dollars over the last five years to assist the Vineland Soup Kitchen.

READ: Dom’s Pizza Party’s Goodwill Catches On

He is a frequent volunteer assisting with summer showers, unloading trucks, separating canned goods and providing assistance with many tasks.

Dominic Mercado is a sophomore at CCTEC focusing on law enforcement. He plans to attend college and become a New Jersey State Trooper. He is the manager of the VHS cross country team, varsity swimmer and crew team member. He’s also a lifeguard for the YMCA.

With his brother, he cofounded Dom’s Pasta Party. He plans to expand Dom’s Pasta Party, which is usually held in the spring, to encourage others to follow his simple idea to help food kitchens across the country.

The family was recognized not only for their philanthropy but also for the profound difference each of them has made to uplift those in the community.

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