Buck and Helen Swahn Retire
Buck and Helen Swahn

Buck and Helen Swahn are retiring from their role as regular volunteers at the Emmaus Soup Kitchen. “We hate to say we can no longer do it,” said Helen, but standing for so long has become physically difficult for the two. “We promise we will still visit!”

“You’ve certainly been a blessing to Emmaus,” replied Sister Mary Miller, director of Emmaus. “I’m very glad you’re making the right decisions for yourselves – and also not abandoning us completely!”

Buck began volunteering in 1981 with the Erie Kiwanis Club. In 2008, Helen joined him. As volunteers, they learned to cook with Sisters Claire and Lucia Surmik. “Claire and Lucia taught us everything we know about cooking for a large group of people,” said Helen. “Plus,” Buck added, “they were a lot of fun to work with. We laughed a lot with them.”

Beyond cooking, Buck and Helen enjoyed getting to know the regular guests of the soup kitchen. “Some people we saw every month and soon became friends with,” Helen said. The two have a particular fondness for one guest they encountered both at their parish and in the kitchen. They loved seeing him and he was always happy to greet them no matter where they were. Experiences like this kept Buck and Helen coming back for so many years.

As for what they’ll do when they are no longer at the soup kitchen the first Monday of each month? “I’ll probably try to keep myself busy by catching up on our laundry!” said Helen and laughed. “But we’ll definitely be back to visit.”