Youth from the Marshall Area YMCA took a trip to a local pool and were greeted with a fresh lunch after a morning of swimming.

Normally, Loaves & Fishes Marshall site coordinator Christy Bottger would have lunch ready to go at the YMCA, but she is always willing to go where she is needed.

“Those kids are so lovable,” Bottger said. “I go where they need me. ‘Just tell me where to go and I’m there.’”

From there, Bottger headed over to Esther’s Kitchen, the Loaves and Fishes dinner site in Marshall. The next task at hand was to figure out how to move an industrial size refrigerator. After making some calls, Bottger was able to use her area connections to get help from some local farmers.

Bottger has been living in the Marshall community for four years and is already well established. The farmers, who didn’t want to be pictured or named, were quick to jump in and help her out. She heard about Loaves and Fishes after continuously being told about the free meals provided at Esther’s Kitchen and instantly wanted to help. She started the position as site coordinator in early July.

“The more I found out about it, the more I fell in love with the program,” said Bottger. “I love the service it provides for this community.”

It’s in her nature and one of many areas she helps the community. She also coaches Special Olympics and reads mail in a local group home.

After preparing dinner, Bottger was greeted by a frequent helper that she met through volunteering, Terry. He helped hand out meals, walked meals to cars of those who had trouble moving and swept the kitchen afterwards.

Cars began pulling up a half hour early waiting for meals to be handed out. Dwayne, a guest of two years, counts on Loaves and Fishes for dinner. It is especially helpful for his mother who is in a wheelchair and has trouble making food. Dwayne picks up an extra meal and drops it off to her every night.

“I’ve got to know a lot of the people around here,” said Dwayne. “It’s nice for us to not have to stress about dinner.”

Bottger is loving her new role and enjoys helping feed those in need. Her favorite memory was her second day on the job when one of her guests gave her a hug and said thank you.

“To many of our guests, this is going out to eat for them,” said Bottger. “This is something they can look forward to without being stressed out.”

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