Abby Dunlap-Hundt: Feeding Body and Soul

Abby Dunlap-Hundt: Feeding Body and Soul

If food is the way to the heart, then it’s clear that Dietary Service Manager Abby Dunlap Hundt holds dear The Center at Donaldson community. This month, she celebrates her 18th year as a PHJC coworker, where she served in many roles.

Abby began her career as a Dietary Service Aide at the former Catherine Kasper Home and worked there for 1½ years before moving to the Motherhouse as a cook. She did that for the next two years before becoming a float cook, working at either the Motherhouse or CKH kitchen, wherever she was needed. In 2014, Abby was promoted to Dietary Services Manager. In all her roles, service to others is the common theme. “Give me a job, and I’ll do it. I don’t care what my title is,” she said.

Not only does she come from a family of great cooks, but she also comes from a family that prides themselves on volunteerism. When the Sisters moved to Catherine Kasper Convent in April, she brought her trailer and volunteered to help them. “I just want to help out,” was her response to Sisters who knew she was going above and beyond her everyday duties. “I’ve volunteered my whole life,” Abby noted. “My mom is the director of the Marshall County Humane Society, and I did fundraising and worked with the animals on the weekends. Prior to COVID, Abby cooked 500 meals for the annual Humane Society fundraising dinner.

In December 2021, Abby and ten other volunteers accompanied Sister Connie Bach, PHJC, to San Antonio, Texas to care for Afghan refugees displaced by nearly two decades of war. After that experience and getting to know Sister Connie and her ministry better, Abby began volunteering on Thursdays delivering food to the needy at local motels with the Plymouth Food Ministry. 

“She’s a hero in a lot of people’s eyes,” Abby said of Sister Connie. In 18 short months, Abby has gone from volunteer to leader and driver for the program on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, especially on days when Sister Connie cannot be there. “I want to be someone she can count on when she needs to take a break.” Abby’s also gotten to know a lot of the residents on the two motel routes, and they miss her on the rare occasions when she’s not there. 

Abby learned to cook as a young child in the kitchen with her mother, and she notes that everyone in her family is a good cook. “We have a big family and when we get together, all the food is good,” she said. She loves to cook for her family, but because she and her wife, who’s a nurse, work opposite schedules, they only share one sit-down meal a week. Still, she bakes and cooks to stock the fridge and freezer so her family can share the bounty, no matter their schedules. 

Throughout her career, Abby’s gleaned a lot of knowledge from the skilled cooks and bakers she’s worked side by side with, notably Sister Agnes Muelhenfeld, PHJC, pictured below with Abby, and Theresa Schleper, PHJC. “Sister Theresa loved to share her recipes, knowledge, and kitchen techniques,” Abby noted. “I learned a lot about baking bread from Sister Agnes,” she said. “She taught me a lot about bread and what it should look and feel like and that it doesn’t always turn out right, so be ready to change things up. I appreciate all of the Sisters and their openness to others,” Abby added.