Shepherd’s Cove resident and father of two Churmell Mitchell grew up watching his mother fill more than just bellies with the food she cooked for the neighborhood children. He learned that small acts of love and service can make a large impact.
Today, he’s working to feed bodies, hearts and minds within his own community—Shepherd’s Cove in Auburn. Mitchell has been instrumental in developing a morning bus stop outreach for the school age children of the affordable housing community.
“The idea originated from memories when I was a young child riding the bus in my apartment complex, similar to Shepherd's Cove,” said Mitchell. “We had volunteer mentors who stood by the bus stop and passed out snacks and something to drink while we waited for the bus.”
Mitchell stands at the bus stop each morning and provides the children with a snack and juice or water. This allows the parents time to get ready for the day or work without worry that their children are unsupervised.
“The parents are very grateful that we have provided a snack,” he said. “Some parents are not able to provide their child a snack every day.”
As he learned from watching his mother, food often leads to conversations, and those can lead to trust and love. Mitchell spends those mornings at the bus stop reading books or devotionals, talking about life at school and at home, and leading the group in morning prayers.
Mitchell says the effort is already starting to grow into so much more, including a tutoring program and game-day cookouts that are drawing participation community wide.
“This is just the beginning of something great,” he said. “ It’s like planting a seed. You have to wait and keep treating it with consistent care until it’s visible. But we can't stop there because after it is visible it still needs the same consistent care. As I plant seeds in the community, they are doing the same for me.”
Mitchell’s efforts to serve within the Shepherd’s Cove community are supported and sponsored by Deo Volente, an Auburn-based nonprofit that provides services to residents of affordable housing communities. Deo Volente was founded in 2011 to provide services for the residents of developments and to meet the needs of families, elderly, and children in affordable housing developments.
Judy Van Dyke, an attorney with The Bennett Group and founder of Deo Volente, said, “Deo Volente has a mission to identify talent within the community to serve the community providing personal development and educational opportunities.”
For more about Deo Volente, visit http://www.hiswillhisway.org/home.html.