A late night phone call from my close friend, Kathy, over 10 years ago telling me she had stage 4 Colon Cancer completely changed my life. What began as a chance for me to help her feed her kids as she navigated her diagnosis, turned into a charity that feeds almost 300 people each week in parts of 5 Hudson Valley counties.
Kathy’s children were her world. Watching her try to navigate her health and family life was overwhelming. Trying to put myself in her shoes, I realized the only thing I would be concerned about more than myself, was the well-being of my children. As a mother, trying to feed my kids while I am in the best of health is challenging enough…adding a cancer diagnosis to that would have turned my world upside down. A simple, homemade meal, delivered to her doorstep brought her so much comfort, I felt a gentle tug at my heart as if this was confirmation of what my purpose truly should be. When 3 other friends under the age of 40 were diagnosed with all different types of cancer, I knew I had to do more.
Out of tragedy can come such love, hope, peace. With the passing of my dear friend, I found myself even more determined to take this vision and make it a reality. In the early days, I cooked out of my home, feeding 16 people every week. As we continued to grow, we moved our facilities to commercial space, expanded our mission from feeding moms to feeding all caregivers and children and grew our radius to 35 miles.
Because of your generosity, Sparrow’s Nest has fed more than 2,000 people since inception. The charity is about much more than just food. It’s about community rallying around a family to help with some of their basic needs, it’s about giving these families some peace of mind knowing a homemade meal is coming and it’s about showing them we will support them throughout their sickness, trying to alleviate some of their stress.
There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about my friend and pray for guidance as I work hard to leave a legacy that she would be proud of. I think of Kathy on the swing at the park with her youngest, laughing every time her daughter asked to be pushed higher and I wish I had more time…more time for parks, and ice cream and chats late at night…more time for silly games, movies and jazzercise. Then I remind myself, she isn’t really gone. She is here. In the kitchen. In everything I do. Watching every meal I make, seeing every recipient it helps and I know she would be rolling up her sleeves if she could to help. That gives me great comfort.