It may be summer, but Gibbons doesn’t take a vacation from serving those in need. Every Monday during the year some 20 members of the Gibbons school community staff The Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen in downtown Raleigh, preparing a hot lunch for and serving it to over 250 of the area’s hungry.
“Loving our neighbor and serving the needs of the most vulnerable among us do not take a vacation just because we do,” said Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl '82. “And so, as a Gibbons community we do so with a smile on our face and a heart full of humility 52 Mondays of the year at the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen.”
In performing that service each Monday, no matter the time of year, Gibbons volunteers - from students and educators to parents, alumni, and parents of alumni - embrace our school’s mission of faith, service, and leadership in church and community. At the same time, they breathe life into the words of Pope Francis: Love is always at the service of others. Because love is seen in actions, not words.
Director of Outreach Ministry Gary Meyerl ’82 said that this summer there was a need to staff the soup kitchen eight Mondays, June 4th – July 23rd … and within 24 hours of sending a request to our school community for volunteers, every volunteer spot was filled! Our goal, during the summer, is that there be a “seamless transition” to the service we provide during the year, he noted.
“Loving our neighbor and serving the needs of the most vulnerable among us do not take a vacation just because we do,” he added. “And so, as a Gibbons community, we do so with a smile on our face and a heart full of humility 52 Mondays of the year at the Shepherd’s Table Soup Kitchen.”
Echoing that sentiment are those who this summer served at the Soup Kitchen. For some, it was the first time they served; for others, it was one of many Mondays of giving back.
Among them was Rob Barber ’21 who served this past Monday alongside his mom, Kim Barber, (pictured left) and one of his favorite educators, Kim Dandurand, who teaches theology at Gibbons.
“I love having the opportunity to serve with Mrs. Dandurand and I was excited to see her this summer before the start of school,” said Rob. “I was able to serve in the soup kitchen at the beginning of summer and today, right before school starts. It’s a great way to be a part of the Gibbons community.”
Kim Barber agreed and added, “Rob and I have had fun volunteering together at The Shepherd’s Table this summer.”
Gibbons parent Ihsin Heinske, who served with her son, Jonathan Heinske ’21, said that serving at the soup kitchen “… is a way to live the teachings of the Gospel.”
Alumna Susannah Odenwelder Zimmerman ’88 was one of three alumni (pictured right) who returned to her alma mater to help staff the soup kitchen last Monday. Joining her were Jennifer Pinna ’00 and Adam Pohlman ’18.
“When I heard about the Gibbons volunteer opportunity at The Shepherd’s Table,” said Susannah, “I knew it would be a great way for me to plug back into the Gibbons community since moving back to North Carolina (from New Jersey) last year. I remember proudly that service was a big part of the Gibbons mission when I was a student. It was a wonderful morning!”