June 28, 2018 Finding Community

Three years ago, I made a decision to leave my Central PA roots and follow my son and his
family to Bloomington, IN where they had relocated from Philadelphia the year before. They are
both in the food and beverage industry so the first people I met in Bloomington were also in that
industry. My daughter in law was working with a chef who was a very active board member with
the local non profit organization Community Kitchen in Bloomington. We were both anxious to
meet new people and very interested in volunteering in the community. I have volunteered in
many organizations over the years Girl Scouts, Community groups, School groups, National
charity groups but had never been on a board of directors especially for a local non profit..
Chef Elgar, a board member of Community Kitchen, shared his passion for the organization’s
mission, vision, and values with us as well as the great volunteer opportunities including board
membership. He invited us to one of their quarterly brunch fundraisers where we participated
as volunteers serving the patrons, and meeting guests. We had so much fun, the food was
absolutely amazing and we met other volunteers and some board members….a really great
day! If you’ve attended our brunches, you understand! If not, you must come and you will be
amazed!!
So there I was volunteering at the brunch, a relative stranger to Indiana, Bloomington and
Community Kitchen but was warmly embraced by the group of board members and volunteers,
all the while meeting and serving brunch attendees and learning about how Community Kitchen
provides food and nutrition for children and adults in need in Bloomington!
We soon attended a few board meetings, did some volunteering in the kitchen, and were
invited to join the board of directors. I have made new friends, learned so much about
non-profits, board membership and committees, fundraising, events, Bloomington and helping
others in need! Three years later I am still in awe of the wonderful, committed, dedicated and
efficient staff, the diversity, experience, passion and comradery of the Board members and the
support of the Bloomington community for this wonderful organization.. Healthy food not only
nourishes and sustains our bodies and minds but also connects us socially as evidenced by the
buzz in the kitchen by the staff and volunteers prepping, the people in our our dining room each
evening and the excitement of the children running to the van in the summer as we deliver
healthy lunches.
As a board member I have met so many wonderful people in the community, had so much fun
at our fundraisers, and learned so much about my community as well as a non profit board. I
have served meals, cut veggies and fruit, de-boned hams, made boxed lunches, helped deliver
summer meals to kids, mopped the floors, wiped tables, vacuumed the floors and loved every
minute of it.
Thank you to all our staff, volunteers and the Bloomington community for supporting this
wonderful organization!

-Jeanette Barefoot

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