Highland, IN food pantry features volunteers of all ages: 'I'm going to keep doing it until I drop'

ByJudy Hsu and Blanca Rios WLS logo
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Mighty team of volunteers works to end hunger in NW Indiana
St. James the Less Food Pantry in Highland, Indiana features volunteers of all ages to ensure their neighbors don't go hungry.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A team of 18 loyal and mighty volunteers at St. James the Less Food Pantry in Highland, Indiana are making sure their neighbors don't go hungry.

"There are nine gentlemen and nine ladies. They are here 52 Fridays out of the year," said Ed Rosinski, executive director of St. James the Less Food Pantry. "I'm blessed with fantastic volunteers."

A volunteer himself, Rosinski has been around since the pantry's start, 24 years ago.

"Right now, we are serving over 200 families every year," Rosinksi said. "They come in once a month, and they're get three banana boxes worth of food."

"My job is when they pull in to find them on the list, and I check them off," client coordinator Larry Kraynik said. "It's all made up together on the cart. They pull up; we ask them to pop the trunk. We have two, three guys are loading; they put it in the trunk, and they drive away. So, it goes real quick."

Inside, the ladies are in charge of boxing up everything.

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"The girls, they already know what do," volunteer Margie Patrick said. "They just jump, and they start sorting. Friday's the big day -- we're helping people out, and I say we're doing it. We're doing it."

"I'm 92 years old, and I just can't sit still. I have to continue working and doing everything, as I see fit," Gerry Lelito said. "I owe so much to God, so I decided I got do more work and get people together so we can love one another."

Lelito is the eldest of the team, but she is in no way the slowest.

"I always tell her, 'sit down, time out,'" Patrick said.

But there's no time out for Lelito.

"I'm going to keep doing it until I drop," she said.

The pantry gets most of its goods from the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana.

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