Have Mercy

Senior supports efforts of local group to feed communityMercyCenter_KL

There are many students whose service often goes unacknowledged here at PHS. One of these students is senior Melody Pinnick, who volunteers at the local Mercy Center. She is one of the many volunteers who help to support families in Paoli, Orleans and Springs Valley, by placing meals on their plates.
The Mercy Center is an organization designed to make sure no one in the community is left hungry. They deliver meals to families who cannot come in person, as well as serve meals on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to those who can.
Their goal is to be a refuge, and offer food to anyone who needs a good meal.
“We want to make sure that no one goes hungry and that people can come and feel safe and cared about,” said Pinnick.
On a typical day volunteering at the Mercy Center, Pinnick will help do everything such as preparing food, like cutting up mountains of carrots for salads, or cleaning and chopping strawberries to be eaten later, to serving meals and unloading meals for delivery.
“While I am there I cook, clean, serve, unload the delivery truck, basically whatever needs to be done,” said Pinnick.
Pinnick has devoted quite a bit of time and effort into our local Mercy Center. She has volunteered over 150 hours and helps to deliver and serve a portion of the 2,500 meals the Mercy Center serves each month. With all of this time and effort, comes a lot of hard work.
Before Pinnick started volunteering at the Mercy Center her sophomore year, she knew very little about cooking in general, let alone cooking for about 100 people a day,
“Before my first day, I had very little experience with cooking, The wonderful ladies taught and guided me with many skills that I can use for the rest of my life,” said Pinnick.
When you spend as many hours with the same caring people as Pinnick has, they start to become less of your friends, and more of your family. Many of the people Pinnick volunteers with have been there since day one. Regardless She still cares about them all.
“The people that I volunteer with have become like my family and so have those that come in, whether I have seen them once or they are there every meal, I care about them, and I care that they don’t remain hungry,” said Pinnick.
Anyone can become a volunteer to help people in need. All you need is time and dedication.
Pinnick started volunteering her second semester of her sophomore year and stuck with it. Getting involved at the Mercy Center is as easy as making a call.
“I loved the idea and really wanted to be a part of it, so I got a hold of one of the ladies in charge and asked if they could use an extra set of hands.
“They were very welcoming, but they didn’t think I would stay very long, because no young person had done so yet. I still can’t understand why they wouldn’t do so, when I got there the other volunteers were so kind, patient and welcoming, I felt like I belonged there, and it was such a rewarding experience to know that thanks to me these people wouldn’t go hungry, that they knew that someone cared, and that maybe we could be a source of hope in their lives,” said Pinnick.
Giving back to the community can be challenging to anyone, but Pinnick handles it very well. She tries her best to make sure her encounters with all of the other volunteers, and people she serves meals to go as smoothly as possible. Although this big responsibility can be quite a bit of work, she believes the rewards given to her overpower the amount of work she has to put into her volunteering.
“Volunteering at the Mercy Center is just something that I love to do. It has given me some amazing opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. It has also helped me become a better cook, better server, and helped me develop a greater appreciation for service workers and for all the volunteers who give so much of themselves for others.”

Story by: Brooklyn Pittman

Photo by: Keisha Levi