At 8:45 a.m. every Monday, two loyal and steadfast volunteers arrive at North Kent Connect: Gracia Kobylik and Ray Salyer. They don their NKC aprons, drink some coffee, talk about the weekend highlights, and are ready to begin their 9 a.m. – noon shift in the food pantry.

“We all know when Gracia is volunteering in the pantry. You’ll hear very loud music! She plays her favorite Glenn Miller, Kenny G, John Denver, and June Carter Cash CDs at a high volume. We call her the ‘plant lady’ because all those plants in the pantry are hers and she takes care of them. Gracia’s very sweet, compassionate, and kind. She spends a lot of time visiting with our clients because she’s easy to talk to and has encouraging words to share with them. Gracia loves to bake and often brings us treats. She makes the best sugar cookies and decorates them so beautifully.

Ray is our ‘ray of sunshine.’ He checks up on me if there is a snowstorm and always has a smile on his face. More than 25 years ago, Ray was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and asked the Lord to heal him. In return, he told God he would volunteer for the rest of his life. Ray was healed and has been at NKC ever since!”

~ Beverly Bouma
Food Programs Manager