St. Anthony’s Ladies of Charity was established 49 years ago in 1968; a dozen years later its primary ministry, a Food Pantry, was established. Initially the Food Pantry served a few clients on demand from the Church Hall. About 20 years ago, the Food Pantry moved to a permanent operation in a 100 year old house donated to the Parish.
In 2015, Barbara Glover took on the Pantry Manager role to provide leadership for the Pantry operation. She had big shoes to fill, since she had succeeded several other dedicated Ladies who had managed the Pantry through significant growth spurts.
The goals of the Food Pantry are: to serve the poor, to provide opportunities for the Parish to serve the poor, and to be recognized in the community as an organization that serves the poor.
The food Pantry now serves over 200 registered client households each month, including nearly 600 individuals. The Pantry is open each Tuesday afternoon plus one evening and one Saturday each month. Client services include providing pre-packed groceries, bags of personal items (such as toiletries), choice of extra items such as eggs, coffee or deer meat, holiday meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, firewood, weekend food distribution for needy children in the local elementary school, backpacks filled with school supplies for children in the client’s household, and Christmas gifts for children in the client’s household.
Since Barbara accepted the pantry Manager role, she has had her “track shoes” on. The number of families served has grown by over 50%. Innovations in client services have included: adding an evening opening time once per month, startup of a mobile food pantry in the church parking lot with fresh produce from local farms during the warmer months, addition of bonus bags with personal items that cannot be purchased with food stamps, installation of an awning to provide a comfortable waiting area for clients, and offering of a cake mix and icing during the client’s birthday month.
Barbara is quick to say that none of this would be possible without about 40 Parish volunteers who weigh food and stock shelves, clean the Pantry House, pre-pack groceries and bonus bags, pick up and deliver food from various sources, welcome and check in clients, and carry groceries to clients cars. In addition, many parishioners and community members donate food and money to support the Pantry operation.
For her role in leading this “beautiful ministry” and providing an inspiring example to our Parish and our community, Father James Stack nominated Barbara to receive the Manifesting the Kingdom Award. This award was established by Donald Cardinal Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, to honor individuals from Parishes and Catholic organizations for exceptional service to the local church.