Donna Burklo, the administrative director for the Family Kitchen, a free-meal program offered through the Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend, was nominated by readers as an unsung hero for her work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Family Kitchen usually serves meals seven days a week in the church. But due to the virus, Burklo led the kitchen in offering the same meals to go.

“It was a really painful decision because part of our mission is to serve the nutritious meals in a safe and caring environment,” Burklo said.

“A part of that is people being able to gather.”

Due to the pandemic, Family Kitchen saw more people in need of meals. But as the need increased, fewer volunteers were available because many needed to stay home due to their age or underlying health conditions.

Burklo worked to find new volunteers, including many who were recently laid off or furloughed because of the pandemic.

“There is no way we would do this without these folks who are willing to run with a new program,” Burklo said.

“It’s been very impressive.”

Burklo’s work allowed the Family Kitchen to maintain its service and continue to provide more than 5,000 meals per month.

— Bulletin staff report


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