Paz de Cristo, which started as a mobile meal service, began operating in 1988, the same year Doris Jean McColgin, (or Jean as her friends call her), began looking for a new place to volunteer time. Paz needed help and Jean came, toting pots and pans to cook the first meals for the homeless on a camp stove. For 16 years, eight hours a day, six days a week she has solicited food from grocery stores and restaurants, found donated dining furniture for guests, developed menus, cooked meals and washed dishes, stoves and refrigerators. Her efforts helped grow Paz de Cristo into an interfaith outreach facility providing meal service to 180,000 annually, 12,000 food boxes as well as job empowerment programs for the homeless and needy in the East Valley. According to Michael Boos, Director of Paz, Jean works as hard as several volunteers and takes the initiative to make Paz the type of place anyone would feel comfortable having a meal. McColgin also volunteers with four other agencies. She serves as Outreach Chair and as an elder on her church board. She serves on the board of the Arizona Military Museum taking over where her husband left off in the 1990s and volunteers to open, close and clean the museum each month. On Easter she plays Easter Bunny at the neighborhood grocery store and participates in the annual Crop Walk, which raises money for the hungry and homeless. Her age, compassion, positive outlook and energy level make Jean an impressive role model to other volunteers. Her commitment makes a direct impact daily, on the life of others.
Jean says it best, “Everyone deserves to have food that looks good and tastes good. I cook here as if I am cooking for my own family. I give it my best.”