It’s the end of the work week. Most people are heading home ready for a weekend removed from the daily challenges of the work environment. But not Ronnie Johnson, the head caretaker of Trinity United Methodist Church.
Shortly after completing his 8 hour shift at Trinity, Ronnie moves into the Trinity Hall Kitchen where he starts preparing a dinner for the guests at Doorways near the VCU Health campus in the city of Richmond.
Started in 1984, Doorways provides: “lodging and support for patients and their loved ones who need to be close to the hospital but not far from the feeling of “home.”
Ronnie became interested in Doorways through Trinity members, Pam and Tom Rockhold. But Ronnie’s passion for helping others via food didn’t start with Doorways.
For the quarterly Blood Drives at Trinity, Ronnie puts together a combination of breakfast biscuits to help insure that the blood donors are well nourished. And over the last couple of years, it has become a tradition for Ronnie to prepare a Saturday morning breakfast for our CARITAS guests. Ronnie has even extended his cooking skills for CARITAS families beyond Trinity’s walls.
But on this Friday evening, Ronnie, and two friends from a local law firm where he provides cleaning services, and a pastor friend are ready to serve 50 guests at Doorways. Meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, baked apples, rolls, gravy, and some donated desserts from Trinity members make quite a spread in the Doorways’ dining area.
When Ronnie arrives, his team of helpers quickly moved to unload his truck. Everything is going well until the bottom of one of the cardboard boxes decides to misbehave. As luck would have it, this box is holding Ronnie’s special homemade gravy, and in a blink gravy is covering some of the carpet tiles at the Doorways’ lobby.
Somehow in the impact, about half of the container was not emptied of gravy. Ronnie never lost his composure, he just told his helpers they would adjust the amount dished out to the guests.
A Richmond native, as a youth Ronnie exhibited athletic skills in football, basketball, and track. Ronnie is also proud of his service to our country as a Marine.
Prepped for life by his mother, Ronnie has always possessed a strong work ethic. He works full time at Trinity, manages his own cleaning business, and has helped his sister start a church. Ronnie is also a pretty good nurse as he has been the key caregiver in helping his wife, Diane, in her recovery from recent knee replacement surgery.
But at the center of all this activity is Ronnie’s big heart and his love of the good Lord.
Ronnie uses his business as an opportunity to help people in his community to learn cleaning skills from a seasoned professional while also providing them much needed employment.
And for the food, it is a ministry for Ronnie.
Providing food for people in need is a way for Ronnie to show those who are struggling that the good Lord’s grace and love can be found through people like Ronnie and his friends on a Friday night after a long week of work.