By Abbey Pour
McNicholas High School students, staff, and alumni have always worked to provide support to the surrounding communities through businesses and organizations. One of these organizations, Churches Active in Northside (CAIN), is run by Executive Director MiMi Chamberlin, a McNicholas alumnus of 1979. CAIN provides crisis assistance, education, counselling, and more in the community.
Theology teacher Mary Beth Sandmann is involved in CAIN, and she provides a community dinner once a month along with other CAIN volunteers. “We have a core group of about six of us that come,” Sandmann said. “It is located in Northside on Hamilton Avenue.” One branch of CAIN, Phil’s Place, is a free weekly dinner that provides food and builds community. Sandmann, who graduated with Chamberlin, was asked to take over the Phil’s Place opening for the third Monday of each month. Former McNicholas students Carmen Feck, Abby Hay, Lisa Sandmann, and Morgan Vogler have helped provide and serve this dinner in the past.
Senior Jillian Sennett has decided to volunteer at CAIN. “I felt like I wasn’t doing enough service-wise, and I looked into CAIN. Mrs. Sandmann talked to me about it,” Sennett said. She volunteered with Sandmann on Dec. 18. “We are setting up, serving up, and cleaning up meals,” she said. “I found through Appalachia that the meaning of life was service, and I was given all the gifts I have in my life as tools in order for me to give back. I think [CAIN] would be an excellent way to do that.”
CAIN’s website and contact information can be found here.
“[CAIN] has been there a long time, and they are vital to the community,” Sandmann said. “The community is very eclectic… There is a real sense of community in the people that go [there], and we develop relationships with them.”