SOS: Kathy PickardStories of Service: Kathy Pickard
It all started at a meeting of folks from the Westwood STEP team. There had been a few meetings with other churches and synagogues that hadn’t gone anywhere, but finally Westwood’s team said let’s do it. “Let’s set up a weekly community meal for those hungering for food and/or relationships.” As a result, the first meal was held in the summer of 2010 at the Lennox Community Center serving 40 people. During that summer it grew to almost 90 folks made up of elders and families from the community. The hope was to continue during the program year, but it didn’t work out. Since it was so successful in the summer of 2010, the meal was started up again in the summer of 2011 at Perspectives with similar numbers and success. The team decided to move the meal to Westwood for the 2011-2012 program year to coincide with our Wednesday night ministry schedule. While we thought it might work out well, I think most people were surprised to observe how successful it’s been. Through 2 ½ months the meal has had a high of 200 people with an average of 160 Westwood folks attending various ministry opportunities, elders from the community seeking relationships, and families from the community seeking a good meal. It has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for Wednesday nights in the future.
One of those original leaders was Kathy Pickard. She had been providing leadership in organizing our STEP volunteers, but quickly jumped in to help with giving this idea a try (even when Pastor Jason was ready to give up). She even joined one other person in getting her food safety certification to help make this happen. In talking about her experience of the Community Meal she spoke of her enjoyment of working with volunteers and the joy of seeing people enjoy the meal and each other. When asked why she volunteers for the ministry and what her faith has to do with it, she talked about her gifts of organizing and cooking helping to meet a need for the community meal.
She also talked of a lifelong commitment to serving and the belief that it takes a community to raise a child. A sense of community is critical for all and it is a joyful experience to help set up a space for that to occur. As for her faith, she shared that a core way she expresses her faith is through “doing”: God’s gifts is our hands, if you will. Thank you Kathy and to all who have made this meal happen. When you get a chance, stop in and say hello to Kathy and the many other dedicated volunteers on Wednesday. They have provided a great gift to Westwood and the larger community. Even better, come and join in the fun of serving the community meal. If you are interested contact Pastor Jason or click here.