The Backbone of Service
The backbone of that bridge is the food pantry volunteers.
"This is the backbone. I'm just one of the little spurs off of it," Serve volunteer Viola White said.
White, a 63-year old mother of three, says she just likes helping people.
"I was taught to work. I'm here five days a week, eight hours a day," White said. "Sometimes I'm lazy and I come in at 9 o'clock."
Far from lazy, White embodies the spirit of the organization.
"I can't say enough about our volunteers because without them this can't happen," C.A.N. Pantry Director Julie Lander said.
For White it's more than just volunteer work.
"I lost my husband seven years ago. Serve has kept me going. It's given me a reason to want to get up in the morning. If I was home, I wouldn't be doing nothing, no production. I'd just be sitting. And I don't like that," White said.
The Callaway Action Network Food Pantry provides food for anyone in the area who needs it. One index card represents one family, and right now the pantry's filing cabinets hold about 3,000 index cards. And the number keeps growing.
"I'm a staff of one. If I didn't have my volunteers, I couldn't get the food out to the families; I couldn't get the garden in; i couldn't get the garden out. And we couldn't get the word out that we need help, and we need food," Lander said.
A lot of the food comes from the Central Missouri Food Bank.
"They're the ones out on the front lines everyday serving people in need. We're just blessed to be a part of what they're doing, and to be able to reach even more people in need," Central Missouri Food Bank Director Peggy Kirkpatrick said.
The food pantry reaches those in need, and empowers those who can help.
"It's the goal of the food bank to empower people not to wait on the government, not to wait on a program. But to act right now to feed somebody else that needs help," Kirkpatrick said.
White shares the food bank's goals.
"I do it for the kids, basically. I like to help kids, and teach them that there are people that loves them, and serve definitely loves the community," White said.
Through simple acts, the true character of the volunteers shine through.
"The generosity; the goodness; the caring; and truly the love of their fellow man just shines through," Lander said.
The Serve pantry is open every weekday but Thursday from 1 to 3:45 p.m.