For Louisville native John Zickel, the COVID pandemic brought an opportunity to make a difference in the community. It started when John’s wife, Christine, saw a Facebook post from the newly formed nonprofit Feed Louisville asking for volunteers willing to pick up food donations from area restaurants and deliver them to the organization’s headquarters at the Douglass Boulevard Christian Church. From there the food was individually boxed and given to other volunteers who took it out into the community to distribute to people in need.
John, Christine, and their two children Maddie and Jesse, saw this as a great way to get out of the house and help people in need. He says it became a weekly service for his family, something they could do together while remaining masked and safe during the height of COVID. When his wife and children returned to work and school, the retired high school math teacher continued to make weekly food runs for the charity.
Currently, he and friend, Dennis Vessels, go out on Tuesdays to Blue Dog Bakery & Cafe, and occasionally to Dare to Care Food Bank, Ramsi’s Cafe, Farm to Fork, and the Ford Assembly Plant to collect food donations. He says he’s proud to be part of the organization that has grown in the last two years. In addition to donations of prepared meals from restaurants, Feed Louisville now accepts food and produce donations which a team of 5-10 chefs and kitchen staff prepare in the church kitchen and box up for distribution.
Why did you choose to volunteer?
For years I’ve seen people at intersections with cardboard signs asking for help. I wasn’t sure that I was really helping a lot by handing them a dollar. I’ve wanted to do more to help meet the needs of people in our city who live on the margins. Feed Louisville gave me the chance to do that in a practical way. They are a great group of people dedicated to taking care of needy people in our community.
What would you say to others considering volunteering?
I’ve been blessed throughout my life with opportunities to work, have a home, and provide for my family and myself. Now I enjoy giving my time and energy to people less fortunate. I encourage anyone to call any agency or organization you might be interested in and see what their needs are and what you can offer them. God created us to live in community and to share our blessings. A little kindness goes a long way.
By Kym Voorhees Raque | Photo by Patti Hartog
P.S. Thinking of volunteering? Here is another article for inspiration.
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