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Food for the Soul moving forward, changing lives

Posted: February 15, 2011 5:10 p.m.
Updated: February 16, 2011 5:00 a.m.
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Kadee O’Donoghue, a seventh-grader at North Central Middle School, stands in front of Food for the Soul after volunteering. She is the daughter of Sharon and Paul O’Donoghue of Bethune.

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Kadee O’Donoghue’s eyes danced as she talked about her experience volunteering at Food for the Soul, a local organization providing hot meals to those in need.

“I’ll definitely be going back this summer to volunteer,” the seventh-grader from North Central Middle School said.

Kadee shadowed Fred Ogburn, the director of Food for the Soul, last week as part of a county-wide program allowing middle-schoolers to go to work with their parents or other adults. During that time, she helped prep food, serve the hungry and clean up afterward.

“I’m very grateful to have this opportunity,” Kadee said. “It really opens your eyes to be thankful for what you have. Some people don’t know how blessed they are.”
Kadee was enthusiastic about returning.

“I told them as I was leaving that I would be back this summer, and I will,” she said. “This is something I can see myself doing as a career.”

Ogburn said he was impressed with Kadee’s attitude and work ethic.

“She fit in perfectly here,” he said. “After I sat down with her to explain exactly what we do here, she jumped right in helping and passing out food.”

He also said he’s glad to see today’s youth getting involved.

“Kadee approached this job shadowing with much more maturity than many other seventh-graders would,” he said.

“We’re proud of her and looking forward to working with her again this summer.”

The new ministry is located just behind the Holsten Center that houses United Way of Kershaw County and an array of charitable, government, and faith-based agencies and organizations on a “one-stop” social services campus that also includes the Community Medical Clinic. Food for the Soul served its first meal from the new facility Christmas Eve. It is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Meals are served from noon to 1 p.m.

“Our volunteers here are really what make this possible,” Ogburn said. “They are our backbone.”

Generally, at least four to six volunteers help prepare food every day.

Mable Brevard, Food for the Soul’s food service manager, agreed with Ogburn.

“We have excellent volunteers that come in every week and help out,” she said. “It just makes you feel good about what you’re doing.”

Brevard said she really doesn’t see her job as “work.”

“It’s about coming together as a team and making a difference and helping others,” she said.

Around 20 churches help supply volunteers, Ogburn said.

Food for the Soul served its first meal as an organization in September 2009 out of Mount Moriah’s kitchen.

“It’s really been amazing watching this organization come together,” Ogburn said. “It’s been very exciting and rewarding to have this opportunity.”

The transition from serving meals out of Mount Moriah Baptist Church’s kitchen to Food for the Soul’s own facility late last year was seamless, Ogburn said.

Soon, Food for the Soul will also offer an emergency shelter along with the hot meals.

“We don’t have a definite start-up date for the shelter yet,” Ogburn said, “But soon.”

The shelter will not be a residential facility, but a means of families and individuals in need to have a place to sleep overnight.

“Its main purpose is going to be a winter shelter,” he said. “A place people can come instead of being on the streets during cold nights.”

The building has 50 cots as well as a dividing partition wall to separate males and females. Each side has a restroom and shower facilities.

Currently, Ogburn is looking for volunteers to staff the shelter during the night.

“We’re still working out all the kinks, like what policies will be in place and what kind of training we will provide to the volunteers,” he said.

Ogburn said the main concerns for housing people overnight are security, health and safety, and mental health. A shelter advisory committee has been formed to look at everything from all angles, he said.

To learn more about Food for the Soul, visit their website at Foodforthesoulkc.org. To volunteer, call  432-4771.

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