• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Food pantry dedicates flagpole in memory of volunteer

FOOD PANTRY VOLUNTEERS and other community members gathered at the Food Pantry of Woodford County on Thursday morning, Dec. 10, to dedicate a flagpole in memory of longtime volunteer Anthony J. Modica. The American Flag honors all food pantry volunteers – past, present and future. Volunteer Bill Furlong was lauded for his intense research into finding a suitable flagpole during last week’s dedication ceremony. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Food Pantry for Woodford County volunteers and others in the community gathered at the food pantry’s new home on Thursday morning, Dec. 10, to dedicate a flagpole in memory of Anthony J. Modica. He and other volunteers were charged with finding a new location for the community’s food pantry in 2011. It was not a responsibility he took lightly, food pantry Executive Director Sharon Hardin told those attending last week’s flag-raising and dedication ceremony. Only a few days before his unexpected death in October 2011, Hardin said Modica told her, “Do not worry for this will happen. It is in God’s hands.” “…Four years later,” continued Hardin, “we have a brand new facility, with our own parking, our own space, and now our own flagpole which will have a plaque bearing ‘In memory of Anthony J. Modica’ to remind us all that we are on earth as servants of God to serve those in our community who need our understanding and help.” The American Flag raised during last Thursday’s dedication ceremony honors past, present and future food pantry volunteers. It was flown over the United States Capitol on Jan. 26, 2015, the same day volunteers were moving into the new food pantry facility at 20 Field of Dreams Road in the Woodford County Park. Before opening on Feb. 2, Woodford County’s food pantry operated three programs in three different locations. Low-income residents in emergency situations now have “a one-stop shop,” Hardin said. The food pantry is open on Mondays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. And unlike many other food pantries, clients get to actually shop for their groceries, which feed a family for more than one week. “They’re able to go through just like they’re in the grocery store,” explained Bill Phelps, an executive board volunteer. On the third Wednesday of each month, food pantry volunteers and others distribute food boxes to families through the Food for Under Served Counties Program. On the first Tuesday of each month, 96 food boxes are delivered to home-bound senior citizen clients and other seniors through the Commodities Supplemental Food Program. In addition to providing much-needed space for those food pantry programs, executive board president Peggy Carter Seal said the grassroots effort to build a new food pantry increased community awareness about the hunger need in Woodford County. “When you make this community aware of a genuine need,” explained Phelps, “they respond.” The community responded with donations to support the construction of a new food pantry facility, and its support has continued. A van – donated by Ruggles Sign Company last December – allows food pantry volunteers to pick up commodities and food donations, and also make deliveries to homebound senior citizens. Annual food drives organized by Woodford County High School, the Versailles Post Office and lesser-known efforts by the Girl Scouts, local businesses and other schools as well as the Woodford County Detention Center also support the food pantry’s daily operations. Vouchers allow eligible families to shop for milk and eggs at Save-A-Lot, which partners with the local food pantry. Members from 18 local churches volunteer – on a rotating-basis – every Monday and Thursday when families are shopping. Those churches and others in the community also make food donations throughout the year to replenish the shelves of their local food pantry. Formerly known as Hope Ministries Food Pantry of Woodford County, the all-volunteer organization was approved as a nonprofit and renamed the Food Pantry for Woodford County in August of this year. Because no one gets paid, every food and monetary donation goes directly towards its operations.

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