12 cooks, pounds of food, and a bushel of fellowship

One of the many ways that our Social Ministry programs help serve our neighbors is through working with Liberty Lutheran and Paul’s Run Senior Living Community. This was an article in the newsletter “At Liberty” as well as email from the Luanne Fisher, President and CEO of Liberty Lutheran to everyone under the Liberty umbrella. See below to learn how this amazing ministry helps to share the life, love, and joy of Jesus Christ with others through service!

Good Morning Liberty,
This is a story of 12 cooks, pounds of food, and a bushel of fellowship.
Once a month Liberty’s Paul’s Run senior living community has 12 eager cooks in the house. All of these cooks are residents, who volunteer their time to prepare meals for vulnerable populations.  Their recipe for success includes a big batch of resourcefulness, a large measure of love, a long list of healthy ingredients—and the foresight of Julie Stumpf, Director of Resident Services at Paul’s Run.

A light bulb went off for Julie when she encountered some residents who thought their age might limit their capacity to help others.  As someone who is ardent about service and a member of the Social Ministry at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Julie cooked up a marvelous idea!  Why not, she thought, organize a group of residents at Paul’s Run to help St. Peter’s ministry with its efforts to combat food insecurity—efforts that included a community meal at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, which could be expanded, with the help of Paul’s Run, to also include Jane Addams Place, a shelter for homeless women and children.

Julie saw this as an excellent opportunity to connect social ministry, willing seniors, and vulnerable populations to give and receive of their gifts. Erin Samsel, Director of Community Life at Paul’s Run, and Ellen Daneke, who spearheads the Social Ministry at St. Peter’s, readily embraced the idea.  The collaboration launched in February and has been successful on many levels. “Cooking with the Paul’s Run’s community service team has been not only a pleasure but a privilege…No matter what the project is for the day, these volunteers pour out their love and hard work to brighten up someone else’s day,” says Ellen.

The group of Paul’s Run volunteer cooks agrees they get back as much as they give. “We laugh, we kid, it makes all of us closer,” says Carole Fanelli, one of the cooks. “It’s a good thing for us. It keeps us moving,” adds Liz Ciaccia, who also shares her culinary talents.

Keep them moving it does!  In April the volunteers cooked for 75 homeless women and children. They created a hearty meal from the abundant ingredients donated by Whole Foods, Summit Foods, and Weis Markets. Twelve pounds of ziti and crushed tomatoes, 24 pounds of tomato sauce, plus various seasonings were expertly transformed into a dozen half-trays of delicious baked ziti. The volunteers also prepared multiple trays of tossed salad, fresh bread, and cookies.

Ultimately, preparing homemade meals for those who need it most is greatly fulfilling for our cooks.  “It was such a good feeling to cook for the women and children. The children were so grateful…they couldn’t thank us enough. And we loved that we had a chance to not just serve the food, but eat with the women and children as well. It was a joy to serve them,” says Liz.

What an excellent example of how creative collaborations inspire the greatest good in all of us. Thank you to Julie, Erin, Ellen and our unbeatable residents.
Have a wonderful week.