Two years ago, Kat Gering decided she wanted to be more involved in her community, so she joined The Patachou Foundation team. “I have also been employed part-time in the Children’s Ministry at my church for several years, caring for young children ranging in age from infant to preschool,” she says.
How did you first hear about The Patachou Foundation?
I first heard about TPF when I was working at Cafe Patachou, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to give back to the city I love so much.
What do you love most about volunteering with The Patachou Foundation?
My favorite thing about volunteering with The Patachou Foundation is building relationships with the students and watching them grow and branch out in their tastes. It’s very rewarding to see a self-described “picky eater” try something new, and even more so when they discover a new favorite food. I see this the most in Food Explorers Club, where the students get to learn about following recipes, food science, basic cooking skills, and creativity in the kitchen.
What’s your favorite memory or story from volunteering with TPF?
It feels like my favorite story changes every week because these kids continue to surprise me each time I serve. Recently, however, I’ve been so impressed by their curiosity about composting. Since we started using the biodegradable plates this semester, I’ve had some great conversations with the students about how composting works and where their food goes after they toss it in our green bags. They’re intrigued by the concept of food being re-used to grow more food, and they’re fascinated that food can be used to manufacture things like plates and utensils. It’s so encouraging to me to see young people taking an interest in becoming responsible stewards of the planet!
What school do you typically serve and can you tell us about it?
You can usually find me on Wednesdays at IPS 58, Ralph Waldo Emerson near Woodruff Place. These kids know me by name and are always excited to tell me about their day and the new things they’re learning and what they’re working on in their after-school programs. They also love helping serve their peers: each day their teacher will send down two student helpers who assist in setting the table and getting ready for dinner. I believe in the power of community, and it humbles me to be able to share a meal and conversation with these young people.
Want to join our team of volunteers? Apply today!