A special woman with a heart of gold. Jendayi Scott-Miller, 42, a certified chef has taken it upon herself to serve her community. What started as a small weekend operation of cooking 35 meals for the elderly quickly evolved into hundreds! Her immense generosity comes while recovering from eight surgeries to remove Uterine cancer.
"When they went inside, they had no idea what was going on in there," said Miller.
"It was scary. You don't want to lose a gem like Jen," said Patt Adams, Miller's Aunt. "You just pray that God give her the strength and to heal her body."
In August of 2019, Miller went in for surgery to remove the cancer at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford. The one-time procedure took a turn when Doctors found a seven-pound tumor. Complications led to more surgeries, the use of a ventilator, time in the Intensive care unit and a nursing home.
"There are days where she couldn't move, she couldn't talk, she couldn't do anything. She was bedridden and her biggest thing was I got to get up," said Rev. Bruce Carter.
Getting up and a never quit attitude fueled Miller’s recovery. Even on her darkest days she knew she’d make it home. In November she did.
"I pushed through to be here for this," said Miller. "This week we are doing it big."
About 300 meals big. Miller never thought she’d be prepping a Mother’s Day meal with 200 lbs of chicken seven weeks ago at the start of COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurities in her neighborhood inspired her to make 35 meals for elderly in need.
"One person heard about it. One thing led to another and we just kept feeding them," said Miller.
Miller's heart of gold wouldn’t turn anyone away. No matter who they are, the time of day or how much her own health is pushed to the brink. She doesn’t want anyone to go hungry, especially on Mother’s Day.
"I couldn’t do it," said Miller. "I wouldn’t want my mom or my grandma not to be able to eat."
The preparations began Thursday by purchasing the food and precooking. Volunteers joined through word of mouth to help prep or drop off extra goods.
"Box lunches and bag lunches that were leftover, I incorporate them into the meals," said Miller.
The hearty meal is cooked fresh by Miller in her Edgewood Street home kitchen on a five-burner stove.
"When she started out, it was out of pocket and even most times if she was short, she somehow made sure she didn't fall short," said Rev. Carter.
The well-oiled operation is in full effect on delivery day Saturday afternoon. Over 60 volunteers, strapped with proper PPE, come by her home to pack up enough food to last three to four days. They take it as far as they are willing to drive. No leftovers ever go to waste.
"If anyone is homeless or single parents with kids, they always know they can come here and get a meal," said Miller.
Her family and friends have asked Jen to take a break. She still has procedures left to be done and is doing weekly treatments. But Miller says she feels at her best when she’s cooking.
"I give them the very best," said Miller. "They are served like they are in a five-star restaurant and I just love them."
If you would like to donate, volunteer time or are in need of a hot meal reach out to Miller on her Facebook
You could also donate by sending funds on Cash app to $itsthatthymecatering.