Thelma J. Stevenson, known around GUM affectionately as Miss Thelma, cooked her last lunch today in Potter’s House Community Kitchen. After 30 years, she’s hanging up her apron and retiring.
Miss Thelma started cooking in her home and delivering food for our guests in the 1980s. When GUM’s building at 305 W. Gate City Blvd. opened, Miss Thelma volunteered to cook in Potter’s House. She’s been with us ever since.
In addition to cooking the lunch meal on Thursdays, Miss Thelma’s tradition was to come in early and also prepare breakfast for the volunteers. One happy refrain spread throug”Miss Thelma is in the house!” When Myron Wilkins, our executive director, visited with Miss Thelma in the kitchen this morning, he reflected her easy willingness to fill stomachs and souls for so many years.
“She reminds me of all the great, sweet women who served in churches where I grew up. They kept their eye on you. They were mothers of the community, giving so much of themselves to help others,” he said.
Miss Thelma, who attends Sharpe Road Church of Christ, said it’s second nature for her: “I was raised up poor, didn’t have anything. I’ve always been a giving person, and my time here has been an inspiration. I appreciate every ministry here and have been shown great respect.”
Bernadette Uveno, Stephen Minister, said it’s the way Miss Thelma gives respect right back to people, and the love she puts into what she does, that will be so missed. “Everything she does is from the heart. She’s such a blessing. I’m not much of a breakfast person, but I looked forward to coming in and participating in breakfast. She’s definitely a delight.”
Miss Thelma, we thank you for 30 wonderful years!