written by Peggy Browning, Wichita Falls Area Food Bank AmeriCorps VISTA Health Partnership Coordinator
Every Friday around 10:45 a.m., Alice McEntee stops her tiny Chevy Aveo in front of the Clay County Mission Outreach and pops open the hatchback door.
The volunteers at the food pantry know Alice well. She is one of their most dependable volunteers.
Being over the age of 55, Alice qualifies to receive a bag of food from the pantry each week. She could also take home a bag of fresh produce from the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank’s Produce Express truck that delivers to the CCMO on Friday.
However, Alice chooses not to feed only herself. She is on a mission: a mission to feed the struggling working class folks who are not eligible for food stamps, but sometimes run short of food before the next paycheck. Clients who are at work during the pantry hours give her their permission to pick up food for them.
Alice arrives at the pantry to carry away the leftovers at the end of the weekly distribution. She takes most of what is left…a few loaves of bread… several packages of lettuce…and loads them into her compact car. Then she fills the back of the car with bags of produce for fifteen families.
After she leaves the CCMO, Alice continues on her way to have lunch at Grace Care Center, where she eats lunch each Friday.
After 1:00 p.m., Alice drives her fully loaded car (loaded with food, not luxury gadgets) to the donut shop where the day’s unsold donuts are available.
Next, the deliveries begin. Alice drops off bags of food all over town to people who couldn’t come to the pantry. She stops at each house on her route, unloads a bag from the back and delivers each one with a smile. She covers the convenience store, a beauty shop or two, the dog pound, homes where the occupants work the graveyard shift and will retrieve the food from the porch when they wake up from their daytime sleep.
Everyone is glad to see Alice, no matter whether she is picking up or dropping off food. The food pantry volunteers appreciate her because she takes food that would not be edible by the next week when the pantry opens again. Her diligence decreases food waste.
The food pantry clients are happy to see Alice arrive with a produce bag filled with potatoes or beans or whatever the choice is that week. Whatever she delivers will stretch their supplies.
The deliveries continue all of Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning.
Alice leaves everyone with a smile and a bag of donuts. No one is hungry on her watch.