Food for thought, and belly, comes from Haviland's Follette family

Hannah Brown/Kiowa County Signal
Pratt Tribune
Enjoying a home-cooked meal in Haviland are students (from left) Cadie Follette, Noah Camp, Tayler Gentry, Tyree and Karalyn Singleton, Jared and Katie Werstler, and Amber and Joel Bob Hendershot. The local Follette family provides Barclay College students in the small town for summer with free eats each week.

Brockie and Todd Follette have lived in Haviland, Kansas since August of 2017. Their youngest daughter Cadie is 10 and will be entering 5th grade when school resumes. With older adult children out of the home, Brockie found herself wanting to provide meals for young adults they knew were stuck in their small, rural town for one reason or another during summer months, or this year, during COVID-19 shutdowns.

Together, Brockie, Todd Cadie, have been providing home-cooked meals and a place to gather together college students and young adults who stick around in Haviland for the summer since 2018. 

“The meal meets a real need of students who are here for the summer by providing food. If we have leftovers, we encourage them to take them and that provides another meal for them in the week,” said Brockie Follette. “The time provides a space to be together instead of just staying to themselves in their room/house/apt. all week.”

Follette said there are many other reasons she and her family feel that this is important. "This is an opportunity for students from Barclay College to get to know more people in the community," Brockie said.

It also keeps the Follette family in connection with college students when classes aren’t in session. Brockie, who works at the BC as the chaplain, and her husband Todd who is the pastor at Haviland Friends Church, interact with students on a daily basis during the school year. These meals in the summertime allow them to continue building relationships. 

“It also fills a hole in my "momma" heart. I miss our adult children and having our house full of their friends when they were teenagers,” said Brockie

During the summer of 2018 and 2019, the Follette family hosted meals in their homes every Wednesday. Due to COVID-19, these gatherings now take place at the HFC youth room. This allows more room for social distancing and keeps new germs out of the Follette’s home. 

An unsuspected blessing that came from a simple summer meal program was a small group, formed by several young couples who attended. They would meet on a regular basis and have dinner while doing a Bible study. 

“In all honesty, sometimes I am already extremely tired by the time I arrive to Wednesday night. It would be easier just to go to my basement with my family and watch movies,” said Follette. “Knowing I have a meal to prepare on Wednesday evening helps me to push past living for self. I pray my daughter will understand the gift of hospitality and loving others even when you are tired.”