Faith, Family and Food: The Barrett Kayser Family and Second Unitarian Church Give Back

Faith, Family and Food

The Barrett Kayser Family and Second Unitarian Church Give Back to Lakeview Pantry

Cassie and Jacob  Kayser with their mom, MarySue Barrett, at the Lakeview Pantry Broadway location.

Cassie and Jacob Kayser with their mom, MarySue Barrett, at the Lakeview Pantry Broadway location.

Throughout the month of April, Second Unitarian Church in Lakeview invited Lakeview Pantry to take part in their Sunday worship services.

Volunteer ambassadors attended services to discuss their work with the congregation, and then the church generously donated half of the offering each Sunday to support the Pantry – raising more than $900 during the four weeks.

The partnership was spearheaded by MarySue Barrett and her two children, Jacob, 15, and Cassie, 13, who petitioned Second Unitarian’s social justice committee in support of the idea.

For nearly six years, the Barrett Kayser family have volunteered with the Pantry in a variety of roles.

“We live on a block where we see people picking up groceries at the Oakdale location,” MarySue shares. “We knocked on the door and asked how we could get involved.”

When Jacob and Cassie were younger, the family participated in the Pantry’s home delivery program where they brought groceries to home-bound clients.

“People were so glad to get the groceries,” says MarySue. “But they were even more excited to see children at their door. These are people who don’t have much to spare, but they would find a piece of candy to give to the kids.”

“When you deliver the bags, their faces just light up,” Jacob remembers. “It was great to know you were giving them something they otherwise couldn’t afford.”

MarySue and Cassie have also taken part in food drives at their local Jewel Osco, providing shopping lists to patrons at the door and asking them to purchase an extra item or two for the Pantry.

“We would ask them if they would pick up an extra jar of peanut butter,” says MarySue. “Then people would come out with a whole bag of groceries to donate.”

One winter after a particularly heavy snowstorm, the family even went above and beyond to ensure the Lakeview Pantry Oakdale location could open for evening distribution. “The snow was so deep that the vans couldn’t get to the Pantry,” MarySue remembers. “We grabbed the neighbors and went walking through the snow to stock the shelves.”

Volunteering together as a family as not only been a way for the Barrett Kayser Family to spend time giving back; it has also been a way for Cassie, Jacob and MarySue – and Second Unitarian Church – to multiply the impact they have in their community.

“Everyone is always very grateful,” Cassie says of her experience with Lakeview Pantry’s clients.

And Lakeview Pantry is grateful to have neighbors like Second Unitarian Church, Cassie, Jacob and MarySue.

If you’d like more information about how your family or organization can help Lakeview Pantry, visit our Fundraise for Us page.