The “St. John’s lady”

Diane has been volunteering in the kitchen at St. John’s Ministries and the shelter for over three years. If you’ve seen her here there, she’s likely to be bustling around the kitchen preparing this or that.

In the community, some know her as the “St. John’s lady.”

The thing is, Diane loves cooking. She has always enjoyed cooking and it makes her feel good when people enjoy the fruits of her labor. When people at her church learned that she cooks breakfast items, soups and more for the guests of St. John’s at the shelter, they started contributing. Friends and members of her church have given her monetary donations and gift cards to support her cooking, saying “this is God’s money.”

Other times, folks will donate supplies like pancake mix or ask what she needs. Diane says sometimes she’ll open her front door to see a grocery delivery on her doorstep. When the staff at her local grocery store learned of her volunteering and what she does for St. John’s, they began giving her discounts on produce and meat.

Diane says it was all meant to be. Her sister started volunteering first in the donation room, and Diane too was looking for a purpose in her life. Through volunteering at St. John’s, Diane has learned that every guest has their own story.

Every person is a story.

Everyone is different and you can’t assume things. She says that gratitude has grounded her, and volunteering fills her up. “If I could quit my job and volunteer seven days a week, I would!”

She recalls a specific encounter with guests when they handed her an envelope during her breakfast volunteering shift and told her not to open it until after. It was a thank you card from guests. A beautiful and surprising expression of appreciation and a confirmation that she is where she is meant to be.

To prospective volunteers, Diane says: “If you just give it a chance, you will learn the word ‘love.’”

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