Lucky to be of Service

I come from a long line of "doers" and am proud my mother's legacy lives on in my acts of service.

Lucky to be of Service

Over the last three days I’ve prepared three trays of Mac & Cheese, eight trays of lasagna (one vegetarian), two flans, three trays of Rice Krispies and have begun drying out bread for two bread puddings which I’ll complete tonight along with two batches of fresh cream. Why am I seemingly preparing to feed an army? This Saturday I’ll begin my annual position as the “Camp Cook” for Camp UOTS, a week-long sleepaway camp for cancer patients from Nicklaus Children’s Hospital here in Miami. I, along with an amazing team of volunteers, will provide meals for 60 people for five of the seven days the kids are at our campsite. My mother was one of the founders of this incredible camp back in 1991 and she made sure to involve my siblings and I every single year. She set the ultimate example of turning lemons into lemonade as she was the mother of a little boy who was in remission from childhood Leukemia when Camp first began.

July 14th is the 3rd anniversary of that incredible woman’s passing but thanks to all she accomplished on earth it isn’t the end of her story. My mother lives on in every lasagna. She lives on in every peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She lives on in every fart joke. She lives on in every dance party. She lives on because she loved us so fiercely while on earth and taught us to love out loud as well.

I often feel luckier than most because I was raised to be ready for the call when others are in need. In my family I’m known as “feet on the street” as I often spring into action to accomplish everything I can with my hands (also, I’m honestly too impatient to handle tech support or organizational efforts). If I’m unable to be of service, I feel frustrated and off balance. My family was (and still is) filled with incredibly strong women who sprang into action when one of us was drowning and you didn’t even need to ask because people just showed up. More than that, my parents surrounded us with strong men and women who taught us what it meant to show our love through acts of service. I remember my parent’s friends driving down after Hurricane Andrew to deliver much needed food and supplies to families in need. I remember my father giving away numerous cars over the years to family members in need. I especially remember all my aunts coming and going from our home when my brother got sick and our pastor setting up camp in the hospital wing with our mother every day to make sure she never felt alone.

I honestly didn’t plan to write about this side of myself right now and had another topic in my mind. However, my husband has observed me whirling about the kitchen for far too long to allow me to let this go. I’m not alone in this as every single member of my family has this embedded in their hearts as well. We all have our specific inspirations but for me, when I give it makes me feel closer to my momma and the love she would want me to share. It’s not even a thought, it’s a reflex when I act.

Is someone sick? I’m making soup! Is a loved one low on funds? I’m opening my wallet! Does someone need furniture? I’m making calls! Do we need to fundraise for under-funded schools to provide music education? I’ve got my kid playing piano to fundraise! Did Sarah McLachlan just guilt me with images of poor little suffering pups? I’m a monthly donor!

I’m keeping things short and sweet for this post because right now my time is needed elsewhere. Please keep an eye on my socials as I release recipes for all the foods I’m making as I serve them to our campers. Also, please click the link below to learn a little more about Camp UOTS and the incredible women who brought this dream to life. If you’re interested in making a donation there’s a link on their site. I’m so blessed to be a part of this each year and so lucky to be of service.