Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Food Bank Director Steps Down after 18 Years of Service

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Food Bank Director Steps Down after 18 Years of Service

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY STRICKLAND

For 18 years, Kathy Womack has served up canned goods.

And she's seen how a can of beans or a loaf of bread can tide people over when they're going through tough times. Anyone, even a college graduate, can be laid off or have a hard time finding a job, she said.

The Fairways Forest resident has been director of Arlington Community Services, the area's food bank, since its inception in September 1989.

Occasionally, she will hear from a former client whose life has turned around.

"They say they want to share with us because we shared with them," Womack said.

For example, one woman, who now has her own business, called wanting to donate food or money. Another former client took a taxi to the Rogero Road office and walked in with $200.

But after 18 years, Womack recently turned over the reins to her assistant director, Joyce Pruitt. She wants to spend more time with her husband, and said it's time for someone younger to take over.

When a large number of people started going from church to church looking for help, 18 Arlington churches in the Arlington Ministerial Fellowship started the pantry in a donated building on Rogero. In 1996, organizers had saved up enough money to purchase a building a couple of blocks away at 1450 Rogero Road, said Womack, who attends Fort Caroline Presbyterian Church.

Clients are referred by one of the now 46 supporting churches or by the food stamp office. They must bring an ID and proof of residence in Arlington ZIP codes 32211, 25, 46 or 77. The pantry also serves a small area of the Southside - ZIP codes 32216 and 32224 north of Beach Boulevard. In addition to food, it provides some emergency assistance with rent and electric bills.

The pantry's sturdy shelves (the Knights of Columbus provided boxes to fit especially on them) are replenished through food drives conducted by the churches, elementary schools, Scout troops, individuals, the American Legion and Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs. …

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