Julie Gattas has proudly served on the St. Jude food service team for 11 years. She began supervising volunteers around 10 years ago when Kay Kafe opened. Approximately 2,000 patrons are served daily, requiring many hands-on helpers. Gattas says she enjoys the familiarity of the friendly faces of both long- and short-term volunteers.
“Our volunteers have been in place for many months, some for many years,” she said. “They are pros!”
Gattas says Kay Kafe volunteers serve a vital role in the day-to-day activities for patients and their families. The volunteers are involved with a variety of tasks that help maintain a good working atmosphere as well as a relaxing dining experience. Volunteers assist with balancing trays, answering questions about food content and ingredients, helping make bakery selections and maneuvering wagons or strollers. All are important tasks.
Gattas says she has many wonderful volunteer memories. One in particular involved longtime volunteers John and Vicki Brown. During the holiday season, John noticed a family with children singing along to the holiday classic “Frosty the Snowman.” John and Vicki began a singalong, which many patrons joined.
“There were smiles all around,” Gattas said. “Great fun!”
Her father-in-law, Fred P. Gattas Sr., served as an ALSAC Board member and chair. He and other members of the family proudly continue to embrace Danny Thomas’ mission.
When not working at St. Jude, Gattas enjoys time with family and friends. She loves to travel and often visits her 2-year-old granddaughter in Denver, Colorado. Gattas enjoys attending outdoor concerts, the Memphis symphony, the Orpheum theatre, and a variety of downtown art festivals. Her recent travels have included Spain, Portugal and Costa Rica.