gwen_goreGwen Gore began volunteering at her neighborhood food pantry three years ago, long before she ever needed help herself.

Gwen, 51, worked full-time as a clerical worker at a St. Louis hospital for the last 11 years, so she could only devote a few hours a month to helping hand out food at Jeremiah’s Food Pantry in East St. Louis.

When she suddenly lost her job at the hospital, Gwen decided to commit herself to volunteering until she could find another job. She now volunteers at Jeremiah’s Food Pantry every week.

“I’m a member of this church and they needed help,” Gwen says. “This is a good opportunity for me to give back.”

The pantry is open the first Thursday of the month, and every Wednesday after that.

On one chilly Thursday in February, we met at the pantry, where the St. Louis Area Foodbank had just delivered a truckload of frozen chickens and fresh mushrooms, broccoli and collard greens.

Dozens of families in need flocked to the pantry, excited to find fresh vegetables and meat.

“We had more people than we’ve ever had last month,” Gwen says. “Today, we’ve had 100 people since we opened at 2 p.m.”

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