By Ukee Washington


CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Once a week, a Haddonfield woman gives up her free time to volunteer for a kitchen, but she wanted to do something more for the charity she loves. On Thursday afternoons, you can find Jane Martin organizing yet another dinner rush at Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, setting up for service and coordinating volunteers.

Jane poked her head into the kitchen to ask executive chef Jonathan Wayne Jernigan, “How many people do you guys need back here today? I know I can give you six. I’ll try to give you eight.”

For more than a decade, Jane has been a volunteer co-meal captain at Cathedral Kitchen to help Jernigan serve hundreds of free meals to dinner guests.

“I mean, she’s just a breath of fresh air when she comes in, seriously,” he said.

“I’ve gone through some rough periods in my life, but it’s really good now,” Martin said. “And it really feels great to be able to give something to somebody else.”

Cathedral Kitchen development director Noreen Flewelling said Martin has reached people far beyond the kitchen with stories she writes and shares on Facebook.

“She really finds out what’s at the heart of what we do here every day, and it brings me to tears quite often,” Flewelling said.

Martin said, “It’s just the need is so huge, it’s hard not to be moved by it.”

When Martin’s 60th birthday was approaching earlier this year, she started a Facebook fundraiser for Cathedral Kitchen, raising $4,000 from as far away as Australia, all in two weeks.

“There are people I didn’t even know who gave to it, which was really gratifying,” she said.

Of course, nothing is quite like being there to serve the people who need food.

“I want them to feel warmth and love,” Martin said. “I want them to feel that we care about them as much as we care about our own families, because we do.”

You can find out more about Cathedral Kitchen here.

Ukee Washington