Kathleen Donnelly Camp Scholarship

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Purpose: Camp scholarship for children

Recipient: Single mother with demonstrated financial need

Founder: This scholarship was created by Serene Hammond, daughter of Kathy Donnelly, in October 2013.

Kathleen “Kathy” Donnelly was born in the summer of 1954.  She is the second of seven children, and grew up in a typical large and tight-knit Irish Catholic family in Northwest Washington, DC.  Kathy’s mother and maternal grandmother were always very close; they were both born on farms in rural Indiana.  Now in DC, and far away from the wide open farmlands of the Midwest, Mom and Grandma would often travel to local farms in surrounding Maryland and Virginia, to harvest fruit and vegetables.  As a young child, Kathy would accompany them to help pick tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, and berries of all kinds – because she was the only child who would go!

Their “bounty” would be brought home to be eaten that week, and what could not consumed be would be canned and stored for the winters.  This was Kathy’s earliest exposure to what is now known as “farm-to-table” sustainable foraging.

As a young adult and after many years in DC, she yearned to see the rest of the world and on a whim, found herself in the most rural parishes of south Louisiana.  In her early years in Louisiana, she slowly stopped eating meat, more for functional reasons than anything else.  With no air conditioning in the house and the sweltering Louisiana heat being what it is, cooking meat on her wood fire stove meant heating up the whole house.  As an alternative she used vegetables and various plant based proteins, such as beans and peas, as the primary source of her food.

After several years in Louisiana, she met her common-in-law husband, and they had 4 children. They raised their children “in the country” on family owned farms and continued growing their own food.  After many happy years, the relationship with her husband grew strained and she and the children moved back to Washington, DC.  Her love of growing her own food never stopped.  Initially, she planted what she could in her parents and sister’s yards.  Anywhere there was dirt Kathy saw a possibility for food, for life and for happiness.  Being a single mother of 4 children was difficult, at times difficult beyond comprehension.  Being able to grow food became both a source of stress relief (meditative) and the end result of putting food on the table (nourishment).  Eventually, Kathy and her children moved into a home in Rockville, Maryland and began to grow food in their own backyard.

Her father always told her – the only thing in life that you “need” is air and water.  Because her children were ferocious eaters, Kathy added food to that list.  Being a single parent is difficult enough, having to worry about where the next meal is coming from should not be added to the list of all the other difficulties.  Kathy has always had a holistic approach to life, knowing one positive action in the universe can trigger a chain reaction of positive energy that everyone benefits from.  Supporting single parents and their children with the opportunity to learn where food comes from, how to plant, grow, and harvest it, and then learning how to cook it — without deterrents or obstacles standing in their way — is a key goal of this scholarship.

Learn, Grow, Community:  Go Have Fun!