Mitzi & Bill Roy were leadership volunteers with the Gathering for 16 years. They recently moved to northern Wisconsin to be nearer their children and grandchildren. Here is Mitzi’s farewell letter.
While Bill and I had volunteered with the Christ Church (Whitefish Bay) groups that went down to the Gathering many times since the Gathering began in 1982, I had not become more deeply involved until 1996 when I had lunch with Michelle Mooney (then Executive Director), after retiring from my Financial Planning practice. She suggested that I might enjoy Coordinating on Saturdays at the Gathering. I was quickly “hooked” and corralled Bill to come along with me. We enjoyed working with the different volunteer groups and found the resilience of the guests inspiring.We coordinated at the Southside site for 16 years.
In 2008 George Neureuther asked us if we would be willing to coordinate at the St. James breakfast program so he could have a day off. While this was a very different experience from the lunch program at the Southside site, we found we enjoyed that immensely as well. Moses, Cary and the guests are all very special and it was a privilege to work with them.
Finally we ventured into the Gathering’s new program with Community Advocates (Shelter Meal Program) and cooked one afternoon a week with Twyla and Kim (and later Kirk) for a little over a year. While it was an entirely different experience, we learned so much and enjoyed working with them so much that we looked forward to our afternoon with them each week.
I also served on the Board of Directors for 9 years. The Gathering Board is an amazing group of people and probably the best Board I ever worked with.
I think what we will miss most about the Gathering is the guests. They are a constant reminder of how way too many people in the world live, and their ability to persevere in the face of so many obstacles is truly inspirational. I feel that the Gathering’s work says that no one is disposable and treats all the guests accordingly.
As we look for new challenges and opportunities in Hudson, WI, we will be looking for something that will bring us as much joy and affirmation as our years with the Gathering have, and give thanks for all the opportunities the Gathering has given us to live out our ministry for the last 16 years.