What’s Your Why? Lashawnda Cofield
This month for “What’s Your Why?”, we direct our focus towards Lashawnda Cofield, Dietary Aide on St. Joseph Home’s Main Campus. Lashawnda came to SJH by chance after coming across an ad in the newspaper at the local grocery store, of all places! Coming from a background in food service and management, she was looking for a more predictable 9-5 job where she could be more present to her children, but instead found something much more exciting and close to her heart here at St. Joseph Home.
As a Dietary Aide, Lashawnda has a very complex and important job – a job that many people may not realize how much planning, focus, and detail is required to do it well. Cooking from scratch, Lashawnda and the rest of the kitchen staff prepare three meals per day meals for 17 residents and many respite guests 365 days per year. Each meal is made to accommodate the dietary needs of each individual and considers each of their personal dietary restrictions, allergies, and even preferences. Not everyone can eat the same way or eat the same thing, meaning each meal is specifically made for the individual. Lashawnda and the kitchen staff do all of this while also preparing meals for the priests and brothers who live on our campus.
While she admits it is hard work and she can get overwhelmed from time-to-time, her love for the residents and respite guests is what keeps her going. Her love for them motivated her to spend more time with them and cross train in other areas outside of the kitchen – including Direct Service Professional, human resources, and housekeeping. From all the different experiences she’s had at St. Joseph Home, she believes she has learned many important things. The residents and respite guests have taught her patience, determination, and how to appreciate life and the way she gets to live it.
Lashawnda’s advice for anyone looking to volunteer with individuals like those at St. Joseph Home is to keep an open mind and consider how much we all need to feel included. She also says to embrace the differences and the things you may not understand because while we’re all equal and have similar needs and feelings, we can learn a lot about one another through embracing each other’s differences.
Thank you, Lashawnda, for all that you do to ensure the well-being of those we serve as well as going above and beyond for the good of the team!