• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Food pantry continues serving families; one program ending

The Food Pantry for Woodford County has been providing 144 local families with food boxes every month through a partnership with God's Pantry Food Bank over the last five years. God's Pantry typically provides these "direct service" programs to a community for about two years "so Woodford County's been very fortunate to have it for that long (five years), and we've been pleased to administer it for God's Pantry here in Woodford County," said Bill Phelps, president of the local food pantry's board of directors. According to a January letter from God's Pantry Food Bank informing the local food pantry of its decision to discontinue the direct service program after a final delivery on March 15, Woodford County families have received over 550,000 pounds of food - with an estimated value of $900,000 - over the last five years. "We've had very good participation since the inception of that program," said Phelps. He said the direct service program on the third Wednesday of each month relied on dedicated volunteers to unload, sort, and box food for in-need Woodford County families since February 2011. "It's a good bunch of people - they not only care about the people they're helping, but they care about each other," said longtime volunteer and past board president Peggy Carter Seal. In addition to countless volunteers from local churches and Kiwanis Club, the all-volunteer Food Pantry for Woodford County was able to rely on the help of the Woodford County Detention Center's community service inmates to unload, sort and distribute food on the third Wednesday of each month, according to Phelps. "They've been invaluable to us. They've been extremely nice, helpful and nice to the people we're serving and work with. They've been a pleasure for us to work with," he said. Families who received food boxes through the direct service program on the third Wednesday of each month and qualify for assistance will continue receiving food boxes during the Food Pantry for Woodford County's regular distribution days: Mondays (5 to 7 p.m.) and Thursdays (1 to 4 p.m.). And through a partnership with God's Pantry Food Drive, 122 local senior citizen households on fixed-incomes will continue receiving food boxes on the first Tuesday of each month. Over 30,000 pounds of food was collected by local residents and donated to the nonprofit Food Pantry for Woodford County from October to December of last year, "which is just amazing," said Phelps. "These are consistent groups that do food drives every year."

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