Bob and Phyllis have been volunteering as co-directors of the Brunswick Food Panty in Medina, a member hunger-relief program of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, for eight years.
Volunteering 40+ hours a week, Bob and Phyllis see the pantry as more than a place where food is given—it’s a haven, a community and a home where all are welcome.
Through childhood hunger struggles of her own, Phyllis is a constant source of encouragement and service to people in Northeast Ohio. Growing up, Phyllis’s father worked as a coal miner and would spend the summer months laid off, searching for work. She recalls how proud of a man he was, and would never talk about the block cheese, beans, or rice with large government stickers on them that would sit on their kitchen counter.
“When people come to our food pantry for the first time, we greet them as friends. We see the pride, the embarrassment, but I tell them, ‘We all need help sometimes. Bob and I both received food assistance as children, and it’s going to be okay. We are here.’”
There are people who are nice to others, and there are people who, through experiences and pain of their own, have found their way to transcend love and acceptance of others that feels entirely undeserved for those receiving it. Phyllis is one of those people. With her husband, Bob, they represent what most of us hope to become as we get older — kinder and more graceful with time.
“At our pantry, we see all ages— a lot of working people, single moms, people who have just been laid off, handicap, seniors and families," said Phyllis. “I want to tell people who hear this story to come sit at my desk one day. Please see the people, just like you and me. See the need, and the line outside our doors—but more than that. See the hope and gratitude in their hearts and on their faces when they leave. God bless you all.”