— By Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel
Seventy-seven-year-old Helen Croden is still volunteering in the community, lending her spaghetti sauce making skills for a fundraiser to help Kelowna non-profits.
Her unpaid humanitarian portfolio includes previously being a sous chef for the Salvation Army, Inn From the Cold, YMCA kids camp, Rutland, and the Scare Crow Festival. She had her own catering business in Edmonton before retirement.
Croden is still full of energy at nearly eighty years of age. She took on the Kingdom Project with the zeal of a disciple. Pastor Cam Koronko of the Rutland Seventh Day Adventist Church gave her, along with 23 others, a crisp $100 bill. He left it up to them to decide how to invest that money. Croden decided to help the community through the Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal. Hence the idea of a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser was born.
Croden went to such lengths as writing letters explaining her mission and personally delivered them to various grocery store chains, then followed up later. Pastor Kim Burry graciously donated the use of their hall, kitchen, decorations and assisted with the meal serving, along with volunteers from Burry’s Salvation Army congregation and the Rutland SDA Church.
Manager Kris Newson of The Old Spaghetti Factory was sought out by Croden for his advice on cooking noodles and he not only advised, but offered to cook the noodles and assist with serving of the meal. He brought along Sou Chef Michael and waitress Sherry Anne, who also volunteered their time and expertise. Kris (her angel in disguise) was great at training the volunteers for the event as well.
Shireen Prysunka assisted Croden in picking up groceries, prepped in kitchen, along with serving. Croden spent six hours making the yummy sauce, and said the recipe will be available upon request.
About 160 hungry people showed up for the event. From the $100 investment, Croden, with the help of many other unsung heroes, made $1,000 in profit to benefit the disadvantaged families in our community through the Salvation Army’s program.
“The smiles on the kids faces is my reward.” said Croden.