• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Teen continues tradition of helping families in need


TARA BARBOUR, 16, and her family continued their annual tradition of delivering personal care items to the Food Pantry for Woodford County. Monetary donations to Tara’s Toiletry Drive allow Tara to shop for the best bargains on soap and other personal care items so less-fortunate families won’t do without. Tara is pictured with Sharon Hardin, director of the local food pantry. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

Woodford County High School junior Tara Barbour could not stop smiling.

Being able to donate 3,449 personal care items to the Food Pantry for Woodford County and knowing she’ll be helping less fortunate families in the community has that effect on her – not only this November, but every year she and her family make their annual delivery.

“I love it,” said Tara, 16. “Because I know that all of these items are going to the food pantry and I know they’re going to help people in need.” Knowing all of her hard work and the donations will help the less fortunate gives her “the best feeling in the world,” she added.

Tara, who also has a part-time job, described shopping for less-fortunate families in the community as “way more enjoyable” than shopping for herself.

“It makes you feel good about the youth in the community to see young people taking something like this on, a challenge like that,” said food pantry volunteer and board Chair Bill Phelps.

This year’s donation came when the food pantry was down to just bars of soap in terms of its inventory of personal care items that Tara donated to the food pantry last November.

Tara started volunteering at the food pantry, alongside her mom, at age 12. She organized her first Tara’s Toiletry Drive three years ago. It came in response to a decision by the nonprofit food pantry to no longer purchase personal care items for its clients at a cost of almost $1,000 a month, food pantry director Sharon Hardin explained. She said the all-volunteer food pantry board had to make the difficult decision to concentrate its efforts strictly on feeding the community’s hungry

“That’s what we are,” said Phelps, “we provide food for the less-fortunate.”

Yet, the food pantry’s volunteers always knew there was a need for personal care items, according to Hardin, “even if it was just the bar of soap that we supplied.”

Thanks to the compassion and hard work of one young volunteer, the food pantry can again provide less fortunate families in the community with soap and many other personal care items, including deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes and paste, and toilet paper.

“Tara took it upon herself,” Hardin said, “to see if she could get the community to back her (in this effort) to supply (the food pantry with) personal care items.”

Tara’s mom, June Barbour, said her daughter “enjoyed this year as much as she did the first year.”

“I would like for it to get bigger and better,” added Tara.

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