More than 350 people attended St. Vincent de Paul Louisville’s 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon May 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Julie Dolan, WLKY News morning anchor, served as emcee for the program, assisted by SVDP Executive Director and CEO Ed Wnorowski and Director of Volunteers and Vincentian Services Donna Young.
Eight awards were presented to individuals, teams, and community partners who have dedicated their time and compassion to serving our clients. Those honored were:
Chuck Peters, Volunteer of the Year
Little Flock Baptist Church, Pat Osbourn Award
Ernest Williams, Pay It Forward Award
The Ursuline Sisters of Louisville, Father Timmel Award
Dare to Care Food Bank, Community Partner of the Year
Specialty Foods Group, Corporate Partner of the Year
Father Jerry Timmel, Lifetime Service Award
Randy Coe, president of Kosair Charities, Spirit of de Paul Award
Peters, a retired businessman, was instrumental in setting up SVDP’s Food Pantry three years ago, and he has volunteered at least two days every week at the pantry since then. The venue provides free groceries to about 360 households each month. In addition, he picks up baked goods from Panera and additional food from Dare to Care when needed. And, against policy and advice, he has driven disabled pantry shoppers to their homes. He recognizes the dignity in each of these pantry customers, acknowledging that “there but for the grace of God go I.”
The team from Little Flock Baptist Church, which has been serving meals in our Open Hand Kitchen for more than 30 years, received the Pat Osbourn Award. Gail Graves, a leader in the congregation, has been instrumental in the group’s outreach with SVDP.Senior Pastor of Little Flock, the Rev. Bernard Crayton, sees the outreach of both Little Flock and SVDP as closely intertwined. Serving much of the same clientele – the poor in our community – the two organizations are also in close proximity, located within a block of each other.
The Osbourn Award honors the spirit of service exemplified by the life of the late Pat Osbourn of St. Albert the Great parish. Osbourn volunteered in the Open Hand Kitchen for more than 25 years.
St. Vincent de Paul client Williams accepted the Pay It Forward Award, presented to a client who is giving back to the community in volunteer service to others. Williams, a supportive housing client, volunteers in the OHK almost daily. One of his strengths — and one that he shares with all of us — is that Ernest chooses to be happy. It is a way of life with him, and it is a gift that he shares with all staff, volunteers, and the folks who dine in the OHK.
Father Jerry Timmel, who was ordained in 1956 and has worked with SVDP since his retirement in 1999, was presented with a Lifetime Service Award. Father Timmel has been active at SVDP in coordinating outreach opportunities for deacons and their wives to serve SVDP clients. He began the Sunday evening masses in the Open Hand Kitchen celebrated on the original altar of St. Paul’s Church. Father Timmel has been a regular at St. Jude, eating dinner with the ladies and always lending an ear to listen to their problems and concerns.
During his long career, Father Timmel served associate pastor and pastor including posts at St. Ignatius, St. Helen, St. Pius and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton churches in addition to service at St. Mildred, St. Helen Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Churches.
In his honor, SVDP has established the Father Timmel Award, which recognizes a church or faith-based group that volunteers together regularly at SVDP. The award was presented to the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville. Sister Rita Dressman leads a serving team of Ursuline Sisters at the OHK. The sisters also hand address Christmas cards with personal messages of good will to clients that frequent the SVDP Food Pantry during the holidays and bake homemade cookies on holidays to pass out to the guests in the OHK.
Dare to Care was named SVDP’s Community Partner of the Year Award. Addressing hunger in our community has been central to SVDP’s mission for decades. Dare to Care Food Bank provides enormous support to our mission in multiple ways:
- Providing food of every description to the Open Hand Kitchen where we serve over 160,000 meals a year
- Supporting the children on our campus and in our neighborhood by delivering daily prepared meals for the St. Vincent de Paul Family Success Center’s Kids Café
- And our most recent expansion the SVDP, a “choice” Food Pantry providing relief to 360 households every month.
The Corporate Partner of the Year Award pays tribute to a business that has contributed significant volunteer time, energy, and/or resources to our mission. For many years consumers in Louisville have enjoyed Fischer and Field Brand meats, yet few would know that behind all that goodness is Specialty Foods Group from Owensboro, Ky.
A few years ago the company was exploring how a regional company could better connect with hometown communities. The suggestion was made to donate meats that were getting close to their freeze date to local emergency kitchens and food pantries, serving those in need. Clients who use the OHK and Food Pantry have greatly benefitted from this generosity.
Over the last few years, Specialty Foods has become one of our most generous benefactors. Our guests have enjoyed a variety of ham, turkey, and other luncheon meats – what a blessing. And the Specialty Foods Group team has served in the Open Hand Kitchen, offering service with a smile. The team includes Ric Herrera, Greg Faulk, and Laura Davis.
The awards luncheon also gave us an opportunity to acknowledged a generous sponsor and donor. Coe, president of Kosair Charities, received the Spirit of de Paul Award, honoring someone who has the heart of a servant and who has provided community leadership to advance the mission of St. Vincent de Paul. SVDP opened the Family Success Center in September of 2014 to provide educational and social development opportunities for at-risk children who have experienced extreme poverty and homelessness. Coe’s leadership helped to ensure the financial success of the Center, which today serves 43 children with after-school programming and an additional 80 children during summer break.
In his long career in business, government, and the non-profit arena, Coe has quietly and humbly stepped in to ensure that good works were funded and good connections were made among community partners. Coe has served in his role with Kosair Charities since 1996 and retires later this year.