A recipe for love

Published 5:57 pm Monday, February 9, 2009

“We are thankful for the opportunity to help save and love all of God’s children in the world.”

For Patricia “Sister Schubert” Barnes of Luverne, lending a helping hand to the sick and orphaned children of the Ukraine is just one of her top priorities in life.

In fact, Barnes has been awarded the highest honor by the City of Gorlovka in the Ukraine for establishing a foster care facility to provide families for Ukrainian children.

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Barnes is the founder of the famous “Sister Schubert” company, which is comprised of three bakeries. One is located in Kentucky, one in Saraland, Ala., and the company’s headquarters is based in Luverne, Ala.

The city awarded the silver Gorlov medal to Barnes in recognition of her founding “Sasha’s Home,” a seven-apartment facility that will house nearly 40 children. Barnes donated more than $1 million for renovating and furnishing of the home since she learned about Ukraine’s estimated 100,000 orphans.

“I was working at the bakery in Luverne one day when a friend invited me to attend the Luverne Rotary Club meeting where a missionary from Ukraine was scheduled to speak,” Barnes explained on her Web site. “I went and listened to a man by the name of Kenny Payne speak of abandoned children forced to live in hospitals with sick children with no chance for adoption. It was then I decided I would help where I could, and I began working with the Abandoned Baby Center in Gorlovka, Ukraine.”

“Sister”, as she is so commonly known, visited the Abandoned Baby Center in 2004. The ABC cares for the babies until they are stable enough to be transferred to the orphanage at the Family Care Center, also known as “Sasha’s Home.”

Barnes said in a statement last Thursday that she is “honored and humbled” to receive the award from the City of Gorlovka.

The donation was through the Barnes Family Foundation that she and her husband, George Barnes, established in 2000. The home, which opened in June 2008, is named for Alexsey, a Ukrainian boy the couple adopted in 2006.

On one of her trips to the orphanage, Barnes’ interpreter told her about a baby boy with clubbed feet whose future looked dim because the nation’s healthcare system wasn’t equipped to perform the surgery needed to repair his feet.

Fourteen months later, Alexsey became the newest member of the Barnes’ family. He now attends kindergarten.

For more information about Patricia Barnes and her humanitarian work, please visit www.sisterschuberts.com

and www.barnesfamilyfoundation.org.