This week Patty Cook, one of our thrift store associates, answered a few questions regarding her position at Mel Trotter Ministries and the work she does to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ to the hungry, homeless, and hurting within the Greater Grand Rapids area. Her work is significant and good and life changing for so many at the Mission. We are blessed to have her.
Name: Patty Cook
Position: Store Associate (Sparta)
What are your responsibilities at Mel Trotter Ministries?
If I see a job that needs to be done at our thrift store, I do it. That could mean helping on the sales floor, running the cash register, answering the donation door, hanging clothes, or cleaning the restrooms. But I also get to listen to customers’ problems and pray with them. I do what needs to be done to help the store – and the Mission – succeed.
What is the best part of your job?The best part of my job is praying with people in need and knowing we make a difference within the homeless community.
What is the most difficult or challenging part of your job?
Currently, the most difficult or challenging part of my job is returning to work after having cancer. Physically I can’t do all that I used to do before I left on medical leave. And my brain is still foggy sometimes. Chemo brain is a real thing! But it’s getting better day-by-day.
What is your favorite Mel Trotter moment?
I have so many favorite memories at Mel Trotter! It changes daily, but I love being able to pray for someone that needs prayer. I’ll stop everything to do that.
In your opinion and/or position, what does compassion demonstrated mean?
Compassion demonstrated means putting someone else’s needs before my own. I think people that work at the Mission demonstrate compassion in a variety of capacities, but the folks that take care of our homeless neighbors at night? They’re incredible. They’re on the front lines of homelessness.
How do you demonstrate compassion at Mel Trotter Ministries?
I demonstrate compassion by answering the donation door. If someone has lost a loved one and is cleaning out their home, I can relate to them. I have lost many family members. I can feel God telling me to pray for those people, so I always ask if I can pray with them and not one person has said no.
How do you demonstrate compassion in your daily life?
I demonstrate compassion simply by coming to work everyday. Our stores help make a difference at the Mission. My heart goes out to our homeless neighbors, the mothers and the children. I love working at Mel Trotter.
What are other ways you’ve seen compassion demonstrated at Mel Trotter?
After our Christmas party Lori, our store manager, had a flat tire. A young man at the Mission helped her fix it, despite the cold. I kept thinking and praying for that young man, that young man who was surviving on the streets. The next week I was at the Mission sharing this story with one of the security guards. He had been on duty that night and had given the young man his gloves. I was told that that young man had had two job offers that week. God is good! How have I seen compassion demonstrated at Mel Trotter? I saw compassion demonstrated from a homeless man.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)