Lunch Guests and a 90-Year Old Boss: Plano Coudon Staff volunteer at Our Daily Bread

A nearly 40-year veteran of the construction industry, Estimator Steve Ruppert suddenly found himself being reprimanded by a high school principal.

Ruppert had volunteered along with several other Plano-Coudon Construction employees to work the lunch service at Our Daily Bread. Assigned to a clean-up crew, Ruppert reported to his new boss for the day – a 90-year-old woman named Mary who had once served as principal of Eastern Technical High School.

A tough manager determined to provide good service to lunch guests, Mary scolded Ruppert twice for shortcomings in his performance.

“But she was really nice when she talked to me afterwards. I would volunteer to work for her again. She was amazing and spry. I hope I can work like that when I’m 90,” Ruppert said.

The scene at Our Daily Bread that autumn day was humbling, he added. About 800 people came to the facility for lunch.

“They tend to get big turnouts around the end of every month because the food stamps run out so there are more people in need,” Ruppert said.

“These are just people who have fallen on hard times somewhere along the way,” said Mark LaPenna, a project manager who worked the lunch service as well as some previous breakfasts at Our Daily Bread. “I think it’s cool to volunteer at these meals. I haven’t had to deal with those challenges in my lifetime. I’ve been pretty fortunate.”

“It’s mind-blowing. There are so many people. If you think you have problems, you don’t,” Ruppert said. “I think it’s great that the company is involved in different volunteer activities. They are giving back and it creates positive energy.”