Quietly and without pomp, Bob Hepp last week celebrated 10 years of cooking Wednesday lunch at the Ponoka Rising Sun Club House.
The only way to get Hepp to come and celebrate was if he cooked the meal, explained clubhouse manager Amanda Henderson. “He is the most compassionate individual I have ever met.”
Wednesday is Hepp’s day to volunteer and prepare meals but helping comes in the form of grocery shopping, securing deals on food supplies and bringing any leftovers from his catering company.
“He helps us out in so many ways when it comes to that,” stated Henderson.
Members pay for a $5 lunch and the proceeds go back into the Club House. More than 60 people came to celebrate Hepp’s anniversary, including former managers and directors. Having him cook is not the only thing Henderson is grateful for, club members enjoy his sense of humour and his concern over their well-being. Some have been able to take on jobs around the community because of Hepp’s concern.
“It takes a special kind to stick around,” she added.
Working in a soup kitchen is something Hepp has always wanted to do and this is probably the closest thing to one, he explained.
His first week at the Club House was six or seven days of cooking until he could find a rhythm and Wednesday seems the best day to help out.
Eventually he was asked to assist with the grocery shopping as Hepp was able to work with suppliers and negotiate better rates.
“That’s how they roped me into it,” Hepp joked.
The drive to continue with the Club House comes from the appreciation he receives for his work and humour. Almost in tears, Hepp told the story of how a member came to him and said,” You have a great, good heart.”
Those experiences are what make coming to the Club House every week a special, he said. “It’s a chance to do cooking like my mother did.”
The relaxed atmosphere at the clubhouse creates a feeling of family and friends.
“I can be creative and the members like that,” he added.
Club House manager Henderson feels the same way and enjoys the many stories Hepp recounts to everyone. “We’re just a great family.”