A seventh-grader is in charge of all that?

Posted at 12:00 PM, May 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-23 12:00:10-04

MONTGOMERY -- When Ginny Rush, director of faith formation at All Saints Catholic Church in Montgomery, reached out to the parish community last year to ask people to help organize meal donations for a nonprofit organization in Over-the-Rhine, she didn’t expect a 12-year-old girl to volunteer.

Rush was coordinating once-a-month meal deliveries to Tender Mercies, a nonprofit that provides housing for homeless adults with mental illness, since August of 2014. Last summer, she realized she was overwhelmed with the responsibilities it entailed and needed help, so she requested volunteers to oversee the receipt of donations, food delivery and food preparation.

Morgan Nuss, an incoming seventh-grader at All Saints School, had heard about the volunteer openings from her mother — who regularly prepares meals for Tender Mercies through All Saints — and decided to sign up to organize donations.

“My parents have always volunteered, and my brothers and sisters and I have always gone along with them, so this was something I thought would be nice to do,” Nuss said.

In September, Nuss shadowed Rush to learn what was involved with coordinating meal donations and, in October, she started doing it on her own.

“This is pretty exceptional,” Rush said. “Morgan is filling a volunteer position that’s usually filled by adults, and she’s dealing with adults in her work. Plus, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with this because if it didn’t get done, the people at Tender Mercies wouldn’t have their lunch that day.”

Seventh-grade student Morgan Nuss, center (in pink), helps prepare a meal at Tender Mercies.

All Saints provides lunch to about 100 people at Tender Mercies every fourth Tuesday of the month. All of the food donations are due to All Saints on the third Tuesday of every month for preparation.

To request donations for the lunches, including paper products, Nuss creates a SignUpGenius each month to ask people to bring in certain items. If all of the spots aren’t filled, she reaches out to people who regularly donate — or those who haven’t yet — to ask them to help. Nuss also creates a PowerPoint slide for All Saints’ principal to send out to parents each month, and for inclusion on the All Saints website and bulletin.

Over the winter, while she was off school on break, Nuss joined her mom and Rush on two different Tuesdays to take a meal to Tender Mercies.

“We went early to take the food down and set up an assembly line for people to get their meal,” Nuss said. “When people came through the line, we’d hand them their plate and talk to them. They were all so grateful and nice and happy.”

In the fall, Nuss will be an eighth-grader at All Saints, thinking about high school and what she wants to do with her future. Even admist changes, she said she plans to continue volunteering her time to make sure the residents at Tender Mercies have their All Saints-provided lunch each month.

“I like the Tender Mercies organization,” she said. “I like that I get to help their mission. I also like working with people through the parish who give each month, and give so freely and willingly.”