Volunteers at Gayton Food Pantry honored for giving hearts

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:13 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A woman who once sought out help at a Richmond food pantry is now helping others.

Inside Gayton Baptist Church, you’ll find three dedicated servants running the food pantry: Amy Cormier, Carolyn Miller and Mike Barber.

“I‘m kind of the worker bee. The three of us - we’re just a great team, and we pitch in and do what we need to be done,” said Barber.

Before the pandemic, community members would’ve been able to come in and take the items they need, now there’s a drive-thru.

“We go shopping predominantly at ALDI. Once we go there, the team sets up everything outside. They meet us when we drive up, we unload cars and begin distribution,” said Carolyn Miller.

Every other Tuesday, a family can pull up to the church and get a bag of prepackaged food items, which includes meat and some fresh produce. If someone can’t make it, the food is delivered.

Julie Bryant was once on the receiving end of that help.

“When my mom needed help, they opened the door and said, ‘come in,’” she said.

Now, Bryant is a volunteer.

“This group is not typical; they just dig right on in. I just want them to know how much I love them, what wonderful people they are and all the people they help,” said Bryant.

With $300and a $50 gift card to Mexico restaurant, she walked over to the trio to show her gratitude.

Selflessness is what drives each of these volunteers. For Mike, it was time for a change after retirement

“I had a primary goal to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

Amy has a lived experience that connects her to the mission.

“I’ve grown up with the deadbeat-dad situation, so it wasn’t around when my mom needed it, and now it is 100% my passion. Nobody deserves to go hungry. It doesn’t matter what brings you to the pantry or what your situation is - if you don’t have the nourishment for your body to get yourself to the next place, you’re never going to be able to stand on your own two feet.”

Carolyn is embracing the joy of building her community.

“I can say that we have a personal relationship with most of our families. It’s not unusual that if Julie needs to talk we call each other, or help somebody get to a doctor’s appointment, or help with a family issue because we are all here together, regardless of the situation that brought you to us.”

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