Catholic Charities West Virginia

Announcements

From Retired Chef to Valued Kitchen Volunteer

On Monday mornings at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center in Wheeling, you can find Barbara Gabis in the kitchen preparing meals for those in need.

When Barbara retired as a chef, she offered her talents to the staff at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center.

Barbara Gabis operates the hot meal press to package meals for individuals who are homebound.

“Barbara’s warmth and good humor are very much appreciated by the staff and volunteers in the kitchen at the Neighborhood Center,” said Mark Phillips, Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) Northern Regional Director. “Her generosity in supporting the work of her friends in the kitchen makes a big difference as we prepare meals for neighbors and those to whom we deliver.”

According to Barbara, the kitchen is her comfort zone. She loves working in the kitchen and applying her passion for culinary arts to filling the need she sees in her community. And CCWVa Kitchen Manager Betty Simeth says Barbara is an invaluable member of the volunteer team.

In November 2020, Barbara made a $10,000 donation to the Neighborhood Center in memory of her late husband, Dr. Joe Gabis.

“I thought the best way to honor Joe for the one year anniversary of his death was to make a donation,” said Barbara. “He was a man of faith and an example to us all. He really believed in giving back.”

The donation was used to purchase equipment for the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center kitchen.

“I’ve worked in kitchens. I know when you have the best equipment, you work more efficiently,” said Barbara.

Barbara Gabis (left), CCWVa volunteer, meets with Mark Phillips (right), CCWVa Northern Regional Director, to discuss her donation to purchase new kitchen equipment for the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center.

With this donation, CCWVa purchased hot boxes to keep prepared meals warm before serving; new shelving and kitchen racks to store food more efficiently; a new commercial grade microwave; portion control serving utensils; and numerous other items that enable kitchen staff and volunteers to work more effectively.

“Barbara is a faithful volunteer in our kitchen at the Neighborhood Center who is always willing to work hard to keep our neighbors well fed,” said Trish Whitelatch, Catholic Charities Neighborhood Center Assistant Coordinator.

“Barbara’s efforts have continued throughout the pandemic as she moved from dinner service to meal preparation for meal route participants,” said Trish. “We’re extremely grateful for her ongoing commitment to the Center and to our neighbors in need.”

By Katie Hinerman Klug, Marketing Communications Specialist