You couldn’t ask for a better volunteer than Kathy Sheedy. She ran her own business for more than 10 years, is a certified youth mentor, and has been volunteering since she was a teen. She’s been with The Patachou Foundation for three years, leading after-school meals at several sites and a Food Exploration Club at James Whitcomb Riley School 43. We got a chance to hear what Kathy loves most about delivering nutritious after-school meals to kids who really need them.
How did you first hear about The Patachou Foundation?
This is my third year. I’ve always volunteered somewhere since I was sixteen. I heard about the Foundation from my daughter who worked as a waitress at Petite Chou. I’m a certified youth mentor, I love to be with kids, and I worked in a school years ago, so she said, “It’s perfect for you, it’s children and it’s food. You’ll love it.”
What do you love most about volunteering with TPF?
The reason I keep coming back is for the kids, of course. I was over at school 43 and did my Food Exploration Club class with them. As I was driving away, I saw some of the kids walking over to the MLK Center in the same neighborhood. When they saw me, they started waving and they all got excited and said, “Thank you for the food!”
But I also love that the Foundation is run by real people. When we get special perks, like the cocktail-making class and invitations to events like the Speakers Forum, it goes a long way. We don’t need a pat on the back, but it’s nice once in awhile.
You said you like working with the older kids. What is it about middle schoolers that you enjoy?
I love going to Harshmann Middle school, I’m a certified youth mentor for 14-18 year olds. Middle schoolers already think they know who they are. I think it’s important at that age to show them that you’re not going anywhere – that they can depend on you and relax a little. They need adults they can trust. And you get to see them transform into young adults.
What’s your favorite memory from volunteering with TPF?
I was serving meals at Tindley and this little girl, who usually loves salads, said to me, “I can’t eat this salad, there’s peanuts.” Of course, we don’t serve peanuts in anything because so many kids have peanut allergies. I looked closer and realized it was a garbanzo bean. She’d never had one before. Once she tried it, she loved it so much and I got to introduce her to a brand new food.
To learn more about how you can get involved with The Patachou Foundation and sign up to volunteer, visit thepatachoufoundation.org.