We are sorry to note the passing of Florence Welsh, a longtime Wayside volunteer and friend. Florence passed away at the age of 87 in Portland following a brief illness in March. To learn more about Florence’s life.From the early days of Wayside in 1986, Florence worked tirelessly to help feed Portland’s hungry. During her volunteer work, she touched the lives of many and is fondly remembered for her dedication and compassion. Florence filled many roles over the years. She served, cooked, set up and cleaned. Her work took her from meals served at Immanuel Baptist in the beginning, to Wayside’s soup kitchen at Preble Street, to cooking at the former Reed Street kitchen, and finally, to cooking at Wayside’s new facility on Walton Street.“Florence was a joy to work with,” recalls Mary Zwolinski, Wayside’s executive director. “She was bold and outspoken, but also very gentle, funny and compassionate.“When I volunteered with her at the old soup kitchen, Florence was known as the ‘soup lady’ since she always served the soup at the end of the line. Many of the men who came through affectionately referred to her as ‘mother.’ “Her daughter, Patty Lesniak, shares the roots of Florence’s desire to help: “She just wanted to help take care of people less fortunate. She felt a need to give back.”Patty notes that Florence sometimes recruited her family to pitch-in when she found herself shorthanded at a meal.“We would get a call from her if not enough volunteers showed up, and we would all join in to help,” says Patty.Florence often worked alongside her friend Shirley Martell, who also joined Wayside in the early days. Both women became involved through their church, Chestnut Street Methodist Church, which evolved into the current Hope Gate Way Church.“She was my friend, and we worked well together,” says Shirley.Patty says that friendship with Shirley and others was a large part of Florence’s Wayside experience: “She made a lot of friends there. There was a lot of bonding. She really came away with as much as she gave in her work at Wayside.”