Mark Harris, kitchen manager
“I was a restaurant manager for many years,” says Mark Harris, kitchen manager for Meals on Wheels of Lancaster. “For most of my life, I’ve worked in restaurants.”
Harris started his culinary career making sandwiches at Isaac’s Deli, “back when it was across the street from Woolworth’s” in downtown Lancaster, he says.
Harris, who grew up in Lancaster and attended McCaskey High School, later worked at the former East of Eden and Portofino’s restaurants.
“Then, I got into big-box restaurants (such as) Applebee’s,” he says. “I opened a TGI Fridays in Forest Hills, Queens.”
He moved to New Hampshire, working for restaurants and a food co-op.
Harris felt the call to ministry, and came back to Lancaster to attend Lancaster Theological Seminary.
He is the pastor of Salem United Church of Christ, Columbia. The part-time pastorate there allows him to work at Meals on Wheels.
“This place really excites me,” Harris says of the nonprofit that makes and delivers meals to area residents who have trouble getting meals on their own because of age or illness.
“There are not many people who work in nonprofits who can believe it when I tell them we have 80 to 90 volunteers a day,” Harris says. “There are so many tasks in putting together all this food. It’s widely varied in scope.”
Harris and his wife, Angela, have five children.
Huntyr Strubel, sous chef
“I’ve been cooking my entire life,” says Huntyr Strubel, who graduated last year from The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts — YTI Career Institute.
Strubel notes her great-grandparents ran the former Strubel’s Restaurant in Strasburg for many years.
“My whole family cooks,” Strubel says.
“I started out at the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center for baking and pastry arts my senior year of high school and fell in love with cooking,” she says.
Working with her fellow students to prepare the food for the annual Taste of Success event, for the benefit of the New Choices career development program, made her realize she liked the fast pace of cooking in a kitchen.
Immediately after high school, she entered culinary school and studied cooking rather than baking.
She lives in Rohrerstown.
Lynn Brown, externship/prep cook
In her native New York, Lynn Brown used to go to work with her mother sometimes.
“My mother worked for a soup kitchen,” Brown says. “I used to go with her on Saturdays to ... hand out food.”
In 1990, Brown moved to Lancaster with her son and wound up working at the QVC warehouse in West Hempfield Township for 21 years.
In advance of the company’s planned closure of that warehouse next year, Brown was let go from her job in April. That’s when she found Meals on Wheels.
“I always wanted to volunteer,” Brown says, but working full time and raising her son hadn’t allowed her much free time to do so.
“I chose here (Meals of Wheels), which was lucky for me, because I actually enjoyed the work I did,” Brown says, “and they hired me part time and paid me for my externship. It was a win-win.”
Because she loves to cook, she enrolled in an 18-month online culinary course through Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Texas. She graduates later this month.
Her dream is to run a soul food stand someday at Lancaster Central Market.
Brown is married to Hazel Wilson and lives in Lancaster.