Love thy neighbor, feed they neighbor

 

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Pam Black has a great relationship with the people who are involved in the local food pantries.

And, there are a lot of folks involved: Those who do community service through the pantries, those employed at food banks and pantries, and those whose families benefit from using the food pantries.

Black’s employer, Naples Rite Aid, pays for her to do four hours of community outreach each week. Her job title at Rite Aid is wellness coordinator. She said the volunteering opportunity has had positive benefit in her life and outlook.

SOCIALIZING AT THE DINNER TABLE — Naples Rite Aid Wellness Ambassador Pam Black volunteered her time for Band for Hunger, a fundraiser for area food pantries.

She started out working with the Naples Food Pantry, which serves 30 families or 90 individuals every Tuesday of the month. Then, Michelle Lamb, director of Preble Street in Portland, invited Black to Band for Hunger.

Band for Hunger is the name of the fall fundraiser for about a half-dozen local food pantries. This year it was held at the Crooked River School in October instead of September — the month typically set aside for hunger awareness.

This Saturday, Black sported an orange T-shirt that said, “Knock out Hunger” and dedicated her day to preparing for the fundraiser — which incorporated live entertainment with the sit-down lasagna dinner.

When Black — like many of the volunteers — finally had time to sit down with a plate of food, she said, “I love these people. These are my people.”

FUN FOR THE FOOD PANTRIES’ SAKE — Members of the Milltown Roadshow band seemed to be hamming it up and having a merry musical time for the benefit. The band volunteered its time and cut costs so all proceeds could go toward a handful of area food pantries. (De Busk Photo)

She expressed how happy she was to have been given the opportunity to get involved in fighting hunger and getting acquainted with the people who use the food pantries.

“I love these people,” she said, before taking another bite.

Later, when the band was taking a break. She walked around to the individual tables and talked to people sitting there — most of whom knew her on a first-name basis.

The Naples Food Pantry, the Casco Village Church Food Pantry and CrossWalk Community Outreach were three of the pantries represented by hardworking directors. Many of the volunteers went from one necessary role to another: From filling up cups of juice, to answering a question; from making sure no lasagna went to waste, to telling people to help themselves to the fruit baskets.

Other contributors to the table of plenty included local residents Holly H., Mary K. and Holly I., who donated organic apples, pears and tomatoes. Olivia’s Organics came through in the 11th hour with fresh, organic salad greens, organizers said.

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