Dare to Care honors local food pantry

Ursuline Sisters of Louisville Martha Buser, left, and Jean Anne Zappa, right, attended a celebration to open the newly expanded food pantry at Shively Area Ministries in this 2012 file photo. (Photo by Marnie McAllister)

Ursuline Sisters of Louisville Martha Buser, left, and Jean Anne Zappa, right, attended a celebration to open the newly expanded food pantry at Shively Area Ministries in this 2012 file photo. (Photo by Marnie McAllister)

By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor

Dare to Care presented the Bobby Ellis Award for the Jefferson County Food Pantry of the Year to Shively Area Ministries (SAM) on March 25. The distinction is an honor for the agency, but also serves as a reminder of the hunger that still lurks in Louisville’s neighborhoods.

Stan Siegwald, a spokesperson for Dare to Care, said, “Dare to Care is blessed with many great partners who have gone above and beyond this year. Shively Area Ministries stood out because of their well-planned and intentional efforts to not only address the surging need for food assistance, but to also address the root causes of this need with new and creative programming.” This “surging need” at Shively Area Ministries refers to a 40 percent increase in the numbers of families it serves. The charity is open five days a week and serves about 700 families (including about 500 children) monthly, compared to about 500 families per month the previous year, according to Siegwald.

Ursuline Sister Jean Anne Zappa, the mission advancement coordinator for SAM, said it’s important to note that the significant rise in need is attributed primarily to the working poor — people who have jobs but who don’t earn enough to subsist.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 18 percent of Shively residents live in poverty.

SAM is supported by local businesses and 25 churches in Shively, including the Catholic churches of St. Lawrence, Incarnation and Mary Queen of Peace. The community provides three to five volunteers a day.

In addition to its food pantry, which was expanded in 2012 to meet increased need, the ministry offers cooking classes, a community garden, counseling and other programs, too.
SAM was nominated for the Dare to Care Award by Greg Daunhauer, president of Byerly Ford-Nissan and a board member of the charity.

In his nomination, Daunhauer wrote, “Shively Area Ministries deserves this award for dedication, commitment, persistence in responding to the increased need for food in the area.”
Dare to Care selected SAM partly for its ability to respond to the surge in need, said Siegwald, but also for several other reasons.

  • “They created a robust strategic plan that included goals for deeper community engagement.”
  • “They executed that plan and have invigorated the community through strong fundraising.”
  • “They have initiated community-building activities surrounding nutrition such as Dare to Care’s Cooking Matters nutrition education program and partnering with other groups on a community garden.”

Roxanna Trivitt, executive director for Shively Area Ministries, said that she was “so happy for our employees and volunteers that their years of hard work have been recognized by our partners at Dare to Care Food Bank.”

She also said that the need to help the needy is a problem that continues to grow. “We have to put minimums or guidelines on what we can present just to serve the people who come to us,” she said.

Dare to Care, she explained, has a “virtual box” of food that they use for planning purposes — they determine the need and the availability of donated food items, then assemble food supplies in real boxes to be donated to those in need.

“Every year, Dare to Care gives out another million pounds of food,” Trivitt explained. “But as the need for help continues to grow, we find ourselves having to put minimums or guidelines on what we can present to people, just so we’ll have enough to help everybody who comes to us.”

It used to be that programs such as the Shively Area Ministries food pantry was an “emergency” service, Trivitt explained. “But we really need to change, to do away with the term ‘emergency.’ When it takes people six months to a year to find another job after being laid off, it isn’t an ‘emergency’ service anymore. We’re really sustaining families with our food donations.”

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