Volunteer Spirit: Kemper always has time for ACCESS Men’s Shelter, Soup Kitchen

Robyn Kemper volunteers for many projects but the ACCESS Shelter and Soup Kitchen was her father, David Taylor’s “baby.” (Photo by Phil Case)

Let us not love with words or tongue

but with action and in truth.

— 1 John 3:16-18

For Robyn Kemper, those are more than just words — they guide her life, especially as an active volunteer. They’re about putting one’s faith into action, an action beyond just talking.

Kemper, who sees her dad, the late David Taylor, as a guiding example, says she saw him “care for the homeless, take widows and the elderly to church,” among many other things that demonstrate faith in action.

Taylor was instrumental in the creation of the ACCESS Men’s Shelter and Soup Kitchen back in the early 1980s. His daughter has served as the board’s president and continues to volunteer at the iconic Second Street facility that seems to be the place many in Frankfort begin — and continue — their volunteer work.

“The shelter was Dad’s baby,” she said. “I will always continue to do whatever I can to help out there.”

She remembers her father and the work he did.

“My dad was just an ordinary man with whom God did extraordinary things,” said Kemper. “Volunteering gives me the opportunity to do things.

“People say the shelter started when a homeless man was found dead under the (Capital Avenue) bridge. Actually, it was already in the works. That event just gave a push when Daddy and others saw a need to help people who needed food and shelter.”

Kemper says homeless people often feel like outcasts and unloved. “We have to make sure they know they are loved,” she said.

“My number one goal as a person, as a volunteer, is to share the love of Christ with everyone — especially the hurting, weak and poor.”

Kemper, 48, retired in 2017 from the Legislative Research Commission, where she was involved as a network service and support technician. She works as a substitute teacher, mostly in special education. She and her husband, Lee, who’s retired from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, have a daughter age 27 and a son who’s 23.

As a member of Capital City Christian Church, she talks about several of the church’s programs and others in the community in which she is involved as examples of faith in action.

She’s the jewelry coordinator at Cinderella’s Closet, which provides prom dresses and accessories for girls who can’t otherwise afford them. “It’s gratifying just to see the smiles on the girls’ faces. Many of them can’t believe all these items are free for them.”

She coordinates the church’s “Jesus Prom” for disabled people in the community. “We pick them up and bring them to church for one big party.”

Kemper says there’s always a need for more volunteers, and she encourages people to look for some project or program in which they are interested and offer to help.

“I just want God to use me in whatever way He needs me. Volunteering gives me those opportunities. Perhaps others can see what volunteering does for me, perhaps making a difference, and they want to be part of that.”

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