| Oct 09, 2008

Oct 9/08 - Selfish Saints of Harrosmith

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Feature Article - October 9, 2008 The selfish saints of HarrowsmithBy Julie Druker

Brenda Crawford and Donna Walker

Donna Walker and Brenda Crawford are not ones to call themselves saints but they do claim to be selfish - in the sense that they are getting to do what both of them absolutely love to do while serving their community and church.

As respective chair and vice chair of the Social Planning Committee of St. Paul’s United Church in Harrowsmith, these two ladies are using their talents and love for entertaining to provide community outreach while also raising funds to help keep the doors of their church open. It’s a win win situation on all fronts and a real labour of love.

The two ladies saw an opportunity as members of the church’s social committee to put their talents and love of entertaining to work for the church and have started reaching out to the community by providing luncheons, most of which have been held at St. Paul’s and all of which, to date, have been for funeral occasions.

The funeral luncheons came about after the ladies teamed up with Peter Trousdale of Trousdale Funeral Home in Sydenham, a suggestion made by St. Paul’s Rev. Lynda Price.

As Donna recalls, when she first presented the idea for doing luncheons at the church to Price, Price immediately recognized that a community need was not being met. Lynda Price asked Donna, “ How far do you want to take this? If you really want to take it somewhere, you should talk to Peter Trousdale.” Rev. Price does a lot of funerals at Trousdale’s and mentioned that there was nowhere at Trousdale’s to hold the after-service luncheons.

Donna and Brenda immediately took action. Brenda recalls, “ I typed up a proposal right away and we fine tuned it, made an appointment with Peter, walked in, and in 5 minutes he was right on board with us.”

Donna recalls, “He said he couldn’t believe that we were the first church that has ever come up with this idea and that he wished somebody had come up with it years ago."

The ladies have put on five events since June.

The service they offer keeps them extremely busy. The ladies plan, prepare and arrange the food buffet-style according to the estimated number of guests.

Trousdale’s charges the family per person and presents a cheque to Brenda and Donna. Once all the expenses have been covered, the remainder goes directly back to St. Paul’s Church in Harrowsmith.

If there are leftovers, the ladies make sure to wrap them all up for the family to take home with them.

The menus consist of the freshest of ingredients. All meats are cooked fresh in the church kitchen (processed meats are a definite no-no.) Home made sandwiches include chicken, egg salad and ham and are all prepared the day of the event to ensure quality and freshness. Fresh herbs are used from the ladies’ gardens as well.

Home made chili is another favorite, as are a variety of home made soups that will be offered in the fall and winter months. These include butternut squash, cream of leek and potato and cream of vegetable.

The buffet also boasts trays of fresh veggies with dips, fresh fruits, plenty of condiments and a wide variety of desserts including home made butter tarts, and custard tarts topped with fresh fruit. The ladies can also accommodate diabetic diets.

Donna and Brenda have been friends for years and work very well together. Brenda explains, “We are both type A personalities and like things to look nice.” Donna adds, “We are both perfectionists and we think a lot alike.” There is a definite upbeat feeling and a positive happy vibe that the ladies exude.

Their services are not restricted to members of St.Paul’s United Church but are available to all members of the community whether religious or not.They are happy to accommodate all religious denominations and non-denominational groups as well.

Their services are not restricted to funeral gatherings either. They would be happy to prepare meals for baby showers, birthdays, auctions, anniversaries, and any special event that involves a theme. Meals can also be prepared at St Paul’s and served elsewhere in the community.

Their service also can include decorations, table ornaments and fresh flower arrangements. They are happy to accommodate the specific needs of those whose event they are helping to organize.

The ladies are hoping to get a freezer donated to the church which would make it easier for them to store some of the food products. They are also looking forward to acquiring help from local high school students for larger functions. Lucky to have a plethora of willing volunteers from their church , Brenda and Donna always have extra help available when they require it.

It is an obvious labour of love for these women who provide the service asolutely free of charge. Both Brenda and Donna seem to love every part of what they do.

More selfless than selfish, the love they put into their work can be seen, felt and tasted.

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