Our volunteer of the month for December is Cherice Barr! Cherice has been a dedicated volunteer cook and server at The Living Room Cafe. We asked her a few questions about her volunteer experience:
How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
When I moved to Chicago I was looking into volunteer opportunities and found out about Inspiration Corporation and the south side Living Room Cafe online and then volunteered for the first time through Chicago Cares.
What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
I love getting to know people at the Living Room Cafe, talking to the clients, people who come for community breakfast and the other staff members and volunteers. I also love cooking in bulk and all the food we cook!
What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?
I really do love cooking big meals, I also enjoy seeing everyone when I come to the Living Room Cafe. I also enjoy the challenge of not knowing how much we’ll need, filling orders and serving breakfast to large groups.
What is your volunteer background?
I have been volunteering since I was a little girl with my parents and then as I got older on my own and with friends and family.
Why do you volunteer?
I want to be a part of the city I live in and serve those in need in practical ways. I am passionate about access to food, shelter and skills that lead to employment. There are many things we can do in such a big city like Chicago and I truly believe that volunteering our time, skills and abilities is serving the kingdom of God and loving our neighbors as our brothers and sisters.
Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
Participating in the community breakfast at the Living Room Cafe is a lot of fun. We’ve had huge groups and not so huge groups and there is no way to tell in advance. We prepare for hours before the first guest comes in and people start lining up outside hours before we begin serving. We are racing against the clock and if we have a small volunteer crew there is a lot of work to do. The most fun I’ve had is the adrenaline that builds as we go through the food, prepare more, clean dishes, plate food and serve in rapid speed.
What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
I like baking, cooking, gardening and biking — I also enjoy learning about the city of Chicago.
What have you learned from your volunteer experience?
That everyone has a story, something to share and something that we can learn from. I’ve also learned that it takes many things to come together to help someone but small steps make a big difference. I’ve come to love volunteering at the Living Room Cafe and look forward to going weekly.