As if they didn’t have enough to do in providing nutritious meals to Cornerstone Village residents, several facility staff members also prepare meals regularly at Wesley House.

As if they didn’t have enough to do in providing nutritious meals to Cornerstone Village residents, several facility staff members also prepare meals regularly at Wesley House.

The “Cornerstone Village Ladies” include Marilyn Cowan, Rena Bowman, Frances Pyle, Nancy Schulz, Tina Browning and Cheryl McDowell, assisted by the Cornerstone Village Nutritional Department.

The outreach started with Browning, CDM, CFPP, director of food and nutrition at Cornerstone.
While serving as state president of Kansas Dietary Managers, she attended a workshop and had an opportunity to help prepare and serve a meal at Grace Cafe.

“This was like a soup kitchen where those in need could get a meal and share in fellowship with others,” Browning said.

She was so moved by the experience that she shared the idea with her Cornerstone staff, and they were enthusiastic about it.

“We jumped at the idea,” Cowan said.

“We contacted Wesley House, and we’ve been going there five years now,” Browning said.

Wesley House has Thursday night dinners, and the Cornerstone Ladies usually prepare one each month.

“I think I’ve missed three dinners in all these years,” Cowan said.

She’s even enlisted the help of her husband, Bucky Cowan, who has only missed two dinners so far.

“I help serve the meal, set the tables and do the bread and butter,” he said. “I do whatever they tell me to do.”

Another volunteer is Brettany Tompkins, McDowell’s daughter.

“She comes and helps me when she doesn’t have school,” McDowell said.

The women have also prepared the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at Wesley House for the past five years.

“For this Christmas, we served ham with all the trimmings, sweet potatoes, green beans and Christmas cake,” Browning said.

Those attending the Christmas dinner also received treat sacks with fruit.

“Our assisted living residents helped by filling the sacks,” McDowell said.

“This truly is an effort by the Cornerstone community, both staff and residents,” Browning said.

“Girl Scout Troop 5025 from Cherokee and Weir also came to the dinner, sang carols and helped with serving and refilling beverages,” McDowell said.

“The Girl Scouts have been helping for about the past three years,” Browning said.

Monthly meals may not be quite as festive, but they’re very well received, Cowan said.

“They love our meatloaf, and I made chili once,” she said.

Cornerstone Ladies are also involved in other community projects, and cook each year at Festa Italiana in Frontenac.

The ladies plan to continue their good works as long as possible.

“We do this because it’s so rewarding,” Browning said. “If we have touched one person’s life, we have reflected our mission of service to others.”

Helping those who are less fortunate is rewarding, and Cowan also pointed out that fortunes can change, especially in difficult times like these.
“You never know when you might be in the same boat one day,” Cowan added. “Something can happen to change your life.”