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Richard Caudell - Volunteer traveled to Gulf Coast

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

April 23, 2006|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Richard Caudell spent a year and a half working with volunteers, bringing him to the conclusion that "God has a very special place in Heaven for the volunteers of this world."

When he was coordinator of The Lunch Place in Waynesboro, Caudell cooked 50 to 70 no-cost meals to be served to the community each day.

While that task could be about as monstrous as the stainless steel pots he used, Caudell was quick to praise the organization's approximately two dozen volunteers for making sure the clients are fed.

The volunteers "were between 75 and 85 (years old) and could work circles around most of the younger employees I had work for me over the years," Caudell said.

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Caudell recently resigned as the full-time coordinator of The Lunch Place when he bought an ice cream parlor, and has since left the organization's board of directors.

"I miss The Lunch Place, the volunteers and all the clients," he said. "I sometimes regret that I needed to get back into the business world."

Operations at The Lunch Place are continuing "as always through the grace of God and the volunteers," said Caudell, a Cascade resident.

The Lunch Place, open Monday through Friday at lunchtime, is a joint effort of Waynesboro Area Human Services and the Fellowship of Churches.

Donations come from grocery stores, farmers, food drives and leftovers from picnics or church functions. Often, the challenge for the coordinator is to make meals with what is available and not using the organization's limited funds to supplement donations.

"I would fix a meal with what was donated (or) with what we had," Caudell said. "Sometimes, I would take three or four leftovers and combine them."

Caudell used his Lunch Place experiences last year when he traveled to New Orleans to set up soup kitchens after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. He also delivered meals and chauffeured people from one place to another.

Caudell said he has resolved to volunteer more, learning from the examples set by the workers at The Lunch Place.

Lunch Place volunteers often would already be at work when Caudell arrived between 8 and 9 a.m., he said.

Caudell and Richard Shook, another member of the organization's board, both described the volunteers as the "backbone" of The Lunch Place.

"If we didn't have them, we couldn't operate," Shook said. "You can't do it with one pair of hands."

The Lunch Place opened on Ash Wednesday in 1990 and has operated out of Christ United Methodist Church for the past 15 years, except for six months when it moved for remodeling. Ten thousand meals were served in each of the past couple of years.

Many of the organization's volunteers have worked with The Lunch Place since its first days, Caudell said.

Q&A

Name - Richard Caudell

Address - Cascade

Occupation - Owner of an ice cream parlor

Most notable achievement and proudest moment: I had the opportunity to go to New Orleans when Katrina hit. I helped to set up soup kitchens and volunteered as needed. Again, I was blessed to work with many volunteers.

Who is the person you most admire and why? - My wife, Linda Jo. She had the faith, strength and knowledge to pray for me, even when I was in the dark. Thank you, Joey.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Who gave it to you? - The volunteers taught him to treat everyone with respect and dignity and to love thy neighbor.

What is the next goal you would like to achieve? - To volunteer more.

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