Bertha’s Mission History

We are an outreach Community Kitchen whose purpose is to reduce hunger within Lawrence County. We provide free on-site cooked meals 3 days a week as well as deliver free meals on Wednesdays only to those who are elderly or disadvantaged.

Bertha’s Mission opened on September 17, 2013 and was an immediate success, serving 50–90 sit down meals per day until the COVID-19 outbreak.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first reported in the U.S. on 1/20/2020. On March 6, 2020 meal service became drive-thru only and the number of people decreased to 80–120 daily. Wednesday delivery continued. View our history scrap book!

Our Mission

To gradually decrease the statistical data on hunger within the community through empowerment, addressing the basic life skills of everyday living, and feeding the hungry, elderly, low income, disabled or lonely citizens of Lawrence County and surrounding counties for free or at a reduced price based on their income.

2022 Statistics

  • Meals served through the drive-thru window were 10,962
  • Meals delivered 5,811
  • The Easter Dinner we served 1,025 with help of local churches First Baptist Church(Bedford) Mitchell First Church of God, Sherwood Oaks Christian Church(Bedford) Turning Point Church of the Nazarene(Heltonville)Crossroads Christian Church(Needmore), Dive Christian Church(East Oolitic), Lighthouse Baptist Church( Tunnelton) and delivered 325 with the help of volunteer drivers.
  • Thanksgiving No satellite sites involved, we served 1,800 meals we hosted at the First Baptist Church of Bedford, and had deliveries to the elderly and disadvantage as well, in addition our regular service we gave out 884 boxes of food, 202 bags of frozen chicken, 96 whole turkeys and 187 packs of pork chops and none of this would have been possible with the support of our sponsors and donors.

2021 Statistics

  • Open 130 days plug Easter and Thanksgiving
  • Toal 14,646–130 days plus Easter and Thanksgiving
  • 7,559 meals daily served (58.14 meals per day)
  • 5,335 meals delivered–Wednesday delivery on 42 days plus Thanksgiving
  • 152 Easter meals, 1,600 Thanksgiving meals
  • No Uncover Hunger celebration, but did hold silent auction via Facebook
  • 802 Food Boxes
  • 15 Bags of Chicken
  • 481 Bricks of Cheese

2020 Statistics

  • Open 151 regular days plus Thanksgiving
  • Total 18,411 meals–151 days
  • 9,897 meals daily served (65.51 meals per day)
  • 6,907 meals delivered–Wednesday delivery on 46 days plus Thanksgiving
  • 1,607 Thanksgiving
  • With Wednesday delivery, 111.28 meals per day
  • COVID service 3/16/20 to 5/13/20 went to 5 days a week (9 weeks, 1144 meals)
  • No Easter meal or Uncover Hunger celebration
Mom and Tanya

The Founder's Journey

Bertha’s Mission was named in honor of my mother Bertha Sterling. Both my mom and dad were the former owners of Chuck’s Soulfood for 12 years, where I, many family members and friends worked.

After the passing of my parents the latest being my mother on November 10, 2012. I had to figure out what to do with the family restaurant, and through prayer God spoke mission. This was a big question mark for me, because at the time my daughter and I were students at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and I had recently returned from studying abroad in China and London over the summer; envisioning pursuing my enrollment into the Master’s Program at either Indiana University Purdue University or Indiana University Bloomington, somewhere all I planned on was continuing my education. My daughter Patshawna was entering her junior year in the School of Social Work, life was great! I was focused on my child and myself and let me not forget my sister Johanna all of our lives changed.

Never did I think or consider that I was going to lose my mother, my sister, my pillar, my advisor, my all and all. So when I did, I was angry, hurt, lost, confused, and alone, my world was rocked, I felt like the rug of life had been pulled from my feet. How could he take the very people who did this mission for 12 years?

So I kept praying and again he mentioned mission and from there he started connecting the pieces for me. I promised God that if a mission was what he wanted then it was up to him to provide the resources, connections, financial support and most of all knowledge. On September 3, 2013 I started walking in radical faith, and I promised I would be there. On September 17, 2013 we served our first guest and from that day and agreement many have joined us, encouraged us, supported us, prayed for us and contributed in many different ways.

Our motto is Matthew 25:35-36 and taking great pride in that we promise the community that we will not serve what we will not eat, we will treat you with dignity and respect, pray with you and for you, treat you like family.

Board of Directors

  • Janice Nickeo-Pendergrass (Founder/Executive Director)
  • Patshawna Nickeo (Assistant Director)
  • Kelsey Colson (President)
  • Atalie Klumpp (Secretary/Treasurer)
  • Sula Eads (Office Manager)
  • Johnnie Doss (Kitchen Manager)
  • Sharon Kittaka (Advisor)
  • Pastor Robert Pendergrass (Chaplain)
  • April Lyons (Meal Delivery Coordinator)
  • Kim Costner (Community Relations)


  • Greg Pittman, Attorney at Law
  • Tim Sledd, Attorney at Law
  • Dennis Parsley
  • Johnny Fiddler
  • Toby Adams
  • Mike Mosqueda
  • Greg Stanley
  • Qadar Royal Enterprise
  • Stokes & Housel, Accountant
  • Dr. Jim Sowders
  • Reath Cosner
  • Judge Michael Robbins
  • Richard Burton
  • Pastor Robert Courson

Ways to Support

There are various ways to support through monetary donations, event sponsorships, and volunteering.