“We all need a chance to get our feet under us in the morning.” Kathryn Schroeder, told me as she explained why four days a week she serves coffee to 300-400 people at the Kearney Center. People tell her often, “You’re making my day bearable.”
About four years ago Kathryn began working in the Kearney Center kitchen with other UUCT volunteers, assisting their small staff wherever help was needed. Kearney had to shut down when the COVID pandemic began, then after they reopened and it was safe, Kathryn went back.
In early 2022, after the new kitchen director was hired, and the most basic food needs were being met, she decided to make morning coffee. Four mornings a week she gets to the Kearney Center by 6:00 a.m. She starts two coffee makers brewing and a drip brewer. She keeps brewing coffee until there is no one who wants it. She usually cleans up by 10:00 am.
Kathryn furnishes all the sugar and creamer with help from some of her caring friends. Coffee as well as some equipment has been donated by perQs Coffee Service.
Kearney is now up to a population of 400. Kathryn understands that the roots of homelessness often start in childhood trauma. Some people incur medical debt and lose their home. Rent increases have made whole families homeless. Some are no longer ambulatory and have no income until they are approved for Disability Benefits.
The easiest way to volunteer is to go to the website. “Don’t just think about the kitchen,” Kathryn advises. “The laundry is a nice place to sit and chat with residents.” Other needs for volunteers include sorting donated clothing and household goods for people who are moving into a new home.
Use the UUCT Directory to contact Kathryn if you want to donate a ten-pound bag of sugar, some coffee creamer, or help in other ways.
“I’m doing the most good I can, and I’m glad to be doing it. You know, when you discover where you fit in, that’s the most rewarding work you can do.”