Kitchen Love and Mercy
Much has been written about what happens in kitchens. Countless recurring themes of heart, home, creativity, and even magic can be found with any Google search. Today we look into the kitchen at the St. Vincent Catholic Charities’ Children’s Home, and one particular person who has inhabited this kitchen, displaying kitchen love and mercy … that person is Beverly Burns. She puts heart, creativity, magic and mercy into her work for the children, and she has been doing this for over 25 years!
Our Children’s Home has an efficient commercial kitchen with three staff members who work tirelessly to prepare three meals and two snacks per day – seven days a week for the 100 or so children who call the Children’s Home their home for varying lengths of time over the course of the year. However it is the fact that these fragile, vulnerable children are nurtured with very real corporal works of mercy performed by Beverly and her team, that fills us with pride.
“For the most part these children, if they were lucky, were raised on a steady diet of chicken nuggets and French fries. And, if they weren’t lucky, their food, what there was of it, was either a battle ground of scarcity, or a weapon of withholding and emotional abuse. For these kids who almost all are suffering from a sense of food insecurity and a very limited idea of what is good, tastes good, and is good for them, have to learn to trust that we are going to feed them, and feed them well,” shared Beverly. “Every day we are scratch cooking for these children. We listen closely to what they say, and what they want and try to provide that for them while we are helping them learn to like new foods. I like the fact that the children at the Children’s Home will never, ever have food withheld from them for any reason.”
Beverly went on to confide that all of her kitchen team members, including herself, are on the older side. They are kept pretty busy with meal prep and are sensitive to not interrupting any activity the children are engaged in, but they understand that she and her team fulfill roles that are close to grandmotherly. “When we get the chance, we love to show them positive attention. We know that because they are here, they need more than just food and shelter.”
Even staff members from across the agency will gravitate to the comfort and solace of the Children’s Home kitchen and Beverly’s open trusting heart and listening ear. We celebrate Beverly Burns and 25 years of kitchen comfort, creativity, magic, and yes … mercy.