WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After helping serve more than 6 million meals to Wichita’s homeless, the long-time director of the Lord’s Diner has announced her retirement.

Jan Haberly joined the Diner’s staff in 2005 as the volunteer coordinator. After seven years in the position, she applied for the director position, a position at the time she wasn’t sure she was cut out for.

“I kind of prayed about it and I didn’t think I was fit for the job, but then I decided it wasn’t me that would make the decision. It was the powers that be and God that would make the decision, so that’s when I got the job as director,” said Haberly.

Faith-driven impact

Since then, Haberly has helped serve more than 6 million meals, played a key role in opening three food trucks and a snack pantry, plus helped expand the diner’s service into Pittsburg, Kan.

“The City of Pittsburgh, which has a lot of poverty in that area, they came to us and said, ‘would you help us open the Lord’s Diner in Pittsburgh?’ So we did that too. So I think my proudest moments are the growth and that we feed so many more people,” Haberly explained.

Haberly will admit running the diner and feeding more than 1,000 people each day is a challenge. However, it’s a challenge she is proud to conquer each day with the help of her staff and numerous volunteers.

“I think the Lord’s Diner is just one of the testaments to the generosity of the Wichita community,” she said. “There are so many people involved in this. I was just kind of the hands that made it happen for everybody else, so I think the legacy is the legacy of the diner.”

That legacy will forever be etched in Haberly’s mind and heart. She said her time with the organization has taught her a great deal about the true meaning of life.

“It has opened my heart to see how other people live, how they struggle. I was brought up in a middle-class family, brothers and sisters and a mom and dad all supporting each other, all faith-based. Now, I see folks who don’t have that, just the basic love that people need in their life. It has opened my heart to see not everyone has that,” Haberly said.

Haberly strives to bring that love to each person she encounters. It’s something her volunteers can attest to.

“She is a positive influence. She is always smiling. She is always here,” said David Faber who has been volunteering at the Lord’s Diner for 10 years. “I think it’s hard to be positive every day. I can’t do it. Most people can’t and she is always positive. I have never seen her have a down day.”

“God has created a lot of different personalities and they all converge here at the diner, either as volunteers coming in the back door or as guests coming through the front door. It’s all the personalities God created come together to be together to help each other,” Haberly said.

What’s next?

Haberly expects her last day as director to be sometime in March, although there is not a set date yet.

KSN asked Haberly what she plans to do during retirement.

She humbly replied, “I would love to volunteer here.”

Haberly added she intends to pursue other volunteer opportunities as well.

“I have some other things that are close to my heart too. Travel, time with my grandkids and just not have to do something every single day, just have some freedom,” she said.