Friday, Nov. 23 2012 8:25AM
Joy of cooking … for 100
By Russ Pulley
When the holiday season rolls around, Dawn Wells pulls double-duty volunteering at Grace United Methodist Church.
Not only will she coordinate a meal prepared for about 100 to 150 people at reStart in downtown Kansas City, she’s working on a toy drive for Lee’s Summit Social Services.
And she gets it done without cracking the whip.
Pastor Jeremy Vickers said that one of the very first things his church encourages new members to do is to get involved with missions. And the meal project led by Wells is among the first he recommends to them to try
“It’s an easy one to jump into because of Dawn,” Vickers said. “She has a very giving spirit which inspires other people to give.”
She’s not the kind of volunteer leader who hammers or guilts people into contributing, he said.
Wells plans a menu every month for the fourth Saturday She and core of three to 10 members who regularly participate will start cooking at 10 a.m. preparing the meal for reStart, finish by mid-afternoon, then deliver the meal.
“My husband and I love to cook and try new things,” Wells said
This month’s main dish is going to be pork loin roast. Other times they’ve made a “giant’ meatloaf. She said one of reStart clients told them it was so good and reminded them of their grandmother’s cooking saying it was as if she’d been resurrected.
“We’re really happy we can touch someone like that,” Wells said.
ReStart is a ministry for homeless persons. It provides overnight shelter for men and women and limited room and board for 10 families, helping them with counseling and finding employment.
Evie Craig, executive director at reStart, said Grace is one of the congregations that have been helping the agency since its beginning more than 20 years ago.
“Grace is just outstanding, we know we can count on them every month,” Craig said. “They bring wonderful food and plan fun things like taco bars or ice cream socials or clients,” she said.
It helps save staff time and agency money, she said.
During the week she works for Black and Veatch doing data entry.
Wells first was organizing the church’s toy drive for Lee’s Summit Social Services, but wanted to do more. So when the person who had been leading the meal program was moving, so she took that on as well.
Lee’s Summit Social Services provides the church with ages of about 300 children and a list of toys they’d like and members donate them, delivering them to the agency just before Thanksgiving.
Wells said that effort is so popular she doesn’t need to do much more than take inventory.
“It rolls by itself,” Wells said. “Some of our kids save up their allowances so they can buy a gift and be a part of it.”
To make a suggestion for a volunteer you’d like to see profiled in the Journal send an email or call 816-282-7017.