About a couple who help the whole community by their love and sharing. A helping hand given by a simple project done daily.
Angelic Ministries began a summer camp for children several years ago with Rev. Shirley Lopez as the originator. Every summer she would roll her wheel chair out into the front yard underneath a big maple tree with a children’s storybook in hand and begin to read. The children soon would flock around her, lay down with their blankets, and listen in awe. She lived in a large mobile home park where many children did not have the luxury of going to summer camps. There were very few activities in this park because it was in a low-income area where accessories such as parks, swimming pools or clubhouses were not available. Soon the kids all wanted her to read to them everyday. Shirley and her husband realized that many of these children had very little and they decided to form the Kiddie-Kitchen, which they used as a means to teach the children how to prepare things without being in danger of being harmed. They realized that many of the moms would leave the younger kids with the older children who sometimes were very young themselves.
Mr. Lopez retired after forty-seven years of service from Heinz, USA the company famous for its pickles. Mr. Lopez could obtain large jars of pickles from the company store and he would put them on the end of Popsicle sticks giving them to the children when they would be leaving. When the program began the children had a rather hard time pronouncing his first name so he would tell them call me “Mr. Pickles?” The name stuck and from that time, all as “Mr. Pickles” knew him in the neighborhood lovingly.The children often arrived early and had to wait until Shirley got into her wheel chair and made her way outside with the storybook. Mr. Pickles would start the meeting by giving the children a safety tip. The safety tip he would make it very easy even for the youngest one to remember, sometimes it came with action. Like what would you do if your clothes caught on fire? Stop-drop-roll! Mr. Pickles would start the meeting by having the children run around the tree until he yelled fire. Then all of them would Stop-drop-roll. This gave the children exercise and get them ready for story time. After the story Mr. Pickles would have hot dogs done on the grill, the condiments all set up, and in order to get their pickle they would have to tell him the tip for the day. On this day, they would all say “Stop-Drop-Roll.” Then everyone got his or her pickle pop.
Shirley then would have them gather on the porch deck where she would have a card table set up with the things she needed to put together a special treat for the children. She would let them help so that they could make the treat themselves if they wanted without having to use heat or anything that would be harmful. One of the favorite treats was Pudding Cones such a simple treat and good to eat. Simply take pudding flavor of choice add a cup of cold milk mix then put into an ice cream cone. The children could then add sprinkles and yum, yum; everyone had a smile on their face. The children enjoyed story time, Kiddie-Kitchen time, and time with Mr. Pickles. The parents appreciated the fact that half a day their kids were being with adults and learning as well as getting special treats that they started sending things like hot dogs, buns, chips, and other things as well to help feed them their lunch. Some parents even bought books to go into the Angelic Kids Camp, which inspired everyone to come and listen. Often a few of the parents would join and help with food preparation or clean-up staying for story time and all the special events.
This became the summer event for everyone and at the end of the summer; the parents put together a special party where everyone met at the home of Mr. Pickles and Rev. Shirley to hold an annual picnic. Some parents brought their grills to cook out while others brought food to pass. The children played games while a group of parents who could play music during the event brought their guitars and the neighbors all gathered even those without children to become a happy family. Mr. Pickles and Rev. Shirley started with only two children and the event grew to over one hundred as the neighborhood children from off the street also started. The whole affair done free never charging but always receiving more than enough to keep it going over the years became a tradition. Since Mr. Pickles had a severe heart attack and Rev. Shirley very ill with Parkinson Disease now lives miles away with her son and his wife. The special love and joy shared by all is still in the hearts of all the children that this wonderful couple touched their lives. Often these children travel to visit with Rev. Shirley bringing their own children for her to give a special blessing over. The Kiddie-Kitchen enclosed is just one page of the book created by Rev. Shirley who she believes would be a joy for someone to share with their family or if they are camp counselors share with the children.
Read more: http://www.authspot.com/short-stories/the-story-behind-kiddie-kitchen