Grace and Main Fellowship nominates Kenneth Bond as Volunteer of the Year. For over five years now, Kenneth has been the head chef of Grace and Main's "big meal" every fourth Thursday of the year. This meal (done in partnership between Grace and Main, Ascension Lutheran Church, and West Main Baptist Church) welcomes several dozen people to eat fantastic food and share a warm, hospitable space regardless of where they're coming from or what they believe. In doing so, Kenneth has been absolutely essential in making and sharing a meal with those in Danville who experience homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, and other injustices. Kenneth does so with a passionate tenacity that he says he learned from his family who so often opened their home to those who needed a meal or a place to rest.
Kenneth is always looking for ways to improve the meal itself and the lives of those with whom he shares the meal. Kenneth was an early adopter of Grace and Main's approach to meals: dignity as priority, eating with instead of serving to, excellent food, and an insistence on equality. But even more, Kenneth has taken these marks of our shared meals and made them his own in new and beautiful ways. The meals that Kenneth prepares with the incredible team of volunteers are the kinds of meals you'd share with your family and closest friends. Over the years, it has become apparent that this is precisely what Kenneth is doing -- he has just expanded his understanding of family and closest friends to include so very many. Preferring outstanding quality and ingredients to mere calories and efficiency, Kenneth prepares a slate of meals that culminates in a yearly Thanksgiving Feast with 7+ turkeys, dozens of pies, and homemade stuffing and gravy not to mention other sides.
Simply put, Kenneth is an enormous part of making something beautiful happen every month and has been doing so for over five years. Each meal, he is greeted warmly by those whom he has shared the meal dozens of times. He is greeted by brothers and sisters without consistent access to shelter, food, and/or material resources. As he explains what's for dinner to the crowd, he is fondly regarded by those who have come to expect his delicious meals. In those moments, he has helped to make that space a home and those gathered into a family.