Circleville Presbyterian Church Community Kitchen volunteer Alice Harker has been named one of five finalists for the 2019 United Way of Pickaway County Community Impact Award. Harker was nominated and selected for the distinction as the result of a community-wide search launched this past June to identify and highlight members of the community going above and beyond to make Pickaway County a great place to live.
At the conclusion of three decades working in education as a teacher serving schools in Franklin and Pickaway Counties in 2005, Alice Harker felt compelled to do something more. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, one of the twenty-five churches and organizations that support this project can be found preparing and serving meals for the Community Kitchen.
“This is a meal that does not require any identification or income or anything. Anyone is welcome,” said Harker. “There, we just share the events of the day or whatever is going on in your life. I think that is an important connection. You may have someone who is living alone or a situation with generations that come. I view it as a time where we can talk and we don’t see [mobile] devices at the tables. That opportunity to have that conversation and make that connection.”
With a shared meal as the focal point of the program, Harker helps spearhead a comprehensive volunteer effort with deep roots in Pickaway County through the church.
“I grew up in a family where I saw my parents doing those kinds of [volunteer] activities and it just seemed like a natural thing to do,” said Harker. “To be involved in your community and to find something that you have a passion for and find an outlet for that. I realized that being in education you have maybe more contacts with a lot of different things and you see needs in the community or through church. My main focus right now is the community kitchen and the work there. They are almost like a second family.”
Good conversation. Full stomachs. And giving back. “That is what it is all about,” said Harker.
The United Way of Pickaway County is proud to name Alice Harker a 2019 Community Impact Award Finalist this fall. Harker, along with the four other finalists, will attend the 2019 United We Serve Gala at the Pavilion at Orchard View of Stoutsville where they will be honored for their commitment to community outreach. Additionally, one winner will also be named that night as the result of a community vote on our website at pickuw.org.