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Simply Serving / Simply Serving Blog  / January Impact Report

January Impact Report

Simply Serving’s January IMPACT Report. Lean what we’ve been doing and how you can help!

Every month, our impact grows.

It’s been a busy month at Simply Serving. We officially started offering our Simply Serving KIDS Cooking program, facilitated 2 successful fundraising campaigns for 2 deserving families and have scheduled delivery for our next round of deep freezers filled with high-quality meals.

Designated Kitchen Space Update:

I spent a great deal of time this month working to find a designated kitchen space for Simply Serving. We are unable to use my personal kitchen due to health department regulations. After working with real estate agents, the health department, plumbers, and electricians it was determined that leasing + preparing a kitchen space is not an option at this time due to lack of funding. Specifically, $17,400/year + utilities and that was for a 1200 square foot space that was totally raw (no flooring, cabinets, walls, paint, etc.). We worked with a contractor to estimate costs of making the space functional and he came back with a quote of $30,000. We also were asked to make a 3 year commitment, which is scary/not-possible for a startup non-profit.

The Jessamine Co. Extension office has graciously offered to allow us to rent their kitchen, but as I explained last month, there are serious availability restrictions and we haven’t been able to secure volunteers during those times. A space of our own would allow us 24/7 access to a kitchen (meaning we could accommodate the schedule of our volunteers) + allow us the capability to offer more kids cooking classes, which has been our main source of funding this month. We are looking into converting the second kitchen in our home to a commercial kitchen space that we would allow Simply Serving to operate out of. This would save SO much expense. There would be minimal modifications required (which Joe and I plan to pay for personally), and some equipment that would need to be purchased to make this possible (see below).

Donation Update:

This month YOU donated $1400 dollars to Simply Serving! This was the exact amount needed to provide freezers to our 2 families. Simply Serving KIDS – Cooking Classes brought in an additional $1200 which made it possible for us to purchase 2 additional deep freezers, new kitchen equipment, apply and receive our food handlers permit + pay our fees to officially incorporate as a 501 (c)3, better known as a non-profit.

We are currently seeking donations to purchase the kitchen equipment necessary for a kitchen to gain health department approval. Specifically, we are in desperate need of the following:

  • 3 Compartment Sink – $600.00
  • Mop Sink with Faucet – $150.00
  • Commercial Hood/Vent System – $1800.00
  • Grease Trap – $500.00
  • Prep Tables (stainless steel) – $1,200


Without the equipment listed above, we WILL NOT be able to operate with the approval of the Jessamine County Health Department. Without the approval of the Health Department we will not be able to continue making meals. If you are able/willing to donate you can do so HERE. Every little bit counts and we are grateful for your generosity.

Volunteer Update:

50 meals were prepared for our recipients this month. I want to give a HUGE THANK YOU to Matt and Anna Lee Brown, Erin Rowe, Hope Nabity, Gina Durbin and Lindsay Halcomb for volunteering their time to prepare a meal. 14/50 meals were able to be prepared by volunteers and I am grateful.

However, moving forward, our MAIN focus is going to be to connecting with and utilizing more volunteers. The time that I am spending in the kitchen creating the remaining meals (36 this month) is not sustainable long term, BUT … I’m willing to keep doing it until we are able to secure more volunteers. I have no doubt that they are out there and think a designated kitchen space with 24/7 access will eliminate this issue.

Currently we are offering volunteer opportunities every other Thursday morning. You can check out our sign up sheet here. Our sessions last about 90 minutes and we have a great time. You just show up and cook/package 1 meal. I provide the ingredients, recipe and detailed instructions. If you are interested in joining us, we would LOVE to have you!

If Thursday mornings don’t work for you, I’m flexible (somewhat, lol). If you are able to get together a group of 4-6 people, we will find a time and make it happen. Just email me at and we can set this up.

January’s Freezer Meal Recipients:

We were able to stock and schedule delivery for 2 families this month. Thanks to YOUR generosity, both freezers filled with 25 meals were fully funded within 36 hours. Amazing. You can learn more about the families we are serving this month by reading their stories below.

The Sallee Family Nomination Story:

Rick and Susan Sallee live in Lexington and have been married 25 years and have 3 children. Tripp(20) attends WKU, Jake (14) attends Dunbar, and Kate (12) attends Summit Christian Academy. Rick is the Athletic Director at Anderson County High School, and Susan is a Registered Dental Hygienist.  January 2016, almost exactly 4 years ago, Rick had tremendous pain that landed him in the ER with what he thought was kidney stones.

After CT scans and tests, a 7mm kidney stone was confirmed, no wonder he was in such pain! They also found 2 masses in his liver and referred him for further testing . After many more tests and biopsies, CholangioCarcinoma was diagnosed. CC is a rare, although growing in numbers, Cancer of the Bile Duct. Most patients die within 6 months of diagnosis, and it has a 5%, 5 year survival rate. Rick’s had spread from the bile duct to the liver, where he had a baseball size and a golf ball size tumor. He had ZERO symptoms from the cancer, so he was blessed to have it detected so early . Thus began 2 years of multiple surgeries and several chemo treatments that could not stop the cancer,  but thankfully there was no spread outside the liver. 

Summer of 2017 the Sallee’s were referred to MD Anderson in Houston Texas to see the top Cholangio Carcinoma oncologist. Immunotherapy was started and worked really well at holding off the cancer spread for about a year with very few side effects, and then growth started to occur.Summer of 2018 Rick started the first of several clinical trials which have been very hard on his body with many different side effects. Even though he is in pain, Rick has continued to work to support his family. He had to fly to Texas weekly, and then bi-weekly when on these trial drugs which was very draining on him. 

This Fall there were currently no trials available so Implanted Radiation beads were planned which he received locally at Central Baptist in December . Rick will return to MD Anderson in February to see what new clinical trials may be available for him . The only cure for CC is surgical removal which had been done twice already and the cancer immediately returned, so he is no longer a candidate for Liver resection . 

The Sallee family have been so blessed through these difficult years by so many people and credit God for providing for and sustaining their family.  The Sallee’s are so thankful to be the recipients of such loving kindness and deliciousness!! Having meals ready to go allows for more family time, less stress and a freezer full of food when grandparents and friends need to stay with the children so Rick and Susan can travel to Texas for treatment.

The Rust Family Nomination Story:

Meet Dave and Chelsea; best friends, husband and wife, and parents to two precious little ones, Keaton and Mara. Both natives of Northern Kentucky, they currently reside in Lexington where they have built a home and a family.On March 21, 2019, Chelsea learned that she had Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (a form of breast cancer), and would be looking at a challenging road ahead to say the least. Hardly taking a moment to process, she immediately sprung into action preparing those she loved for the upcoming journey. Those who knew her were able to stay “in the know” through her CaringBridge site, where she delivered the darker details of her cancer and it’s treatment with her raw humor and total transparency.Chelsea could easily be described as hard working an inspirational before she was ever touched by cancer, but she certainly amped it up during treatment; she remained active with her CrossFit family, served as an adjunct professor, and maintained office hours to continue caring for her patients. In the Spring, she completed the remaining requirements to receive her Doctorate – becoming Dr. Chelsea Rust while simultaneously being cared for as a cancer patient.Chelsea underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy, and was in the beginning of radiation treatment in December of 2019 when severe headaches landed her in the hospital with an eventual diagnosis of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis – the breast cancer had metastasized to her cerebral spinal fluid and also to her liver; the prognosis is poor.

As Chelsea’s friends and family reel from this news, she continues to do what she does best; love her family and love others. She asks that those seeking out ways to help do so by spreading kindness and paying acts of selflessness forward — whether it’s to loved ones or strangers on the street. You can find her still singing along to the The Beatles and James Taylor with her babies every night, as she continues to spend her efforts having as much time as possible with them.

Everyone who know Chelsea has been positively affected by her in one way or another. She has truly lived more in her 35 years than most do in a lifetime, and her time on earth has changed so many people for good. It would be an honor to be able to gift this family with meals, so they are able to focus on valuable moments together.

Looking Forward:

As we go into the month of February we have big goals!!! We will be focusing on raising money for our designated kitchen space + selecting 2 more families to bless with the gift of 25 freezer meals. If you have a family you would like to nominate click here.

Thank you again for everything you have done to support Simply Serving through this exciting time of growth. I continue to be in awe of the generosity and empathy shown daily. I’m looking forward to connecting with you again with the February impact report. I believe that there will be big things to share!!!

Quick Links:

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