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Pastor's dream helps hundreds of families each year

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By Janet Robb

TELL CITY - Feed those in need. That's how Brother Tom Brown wanted to help not only Perry County but surrounding areas.

The pastor of Tell Street Baptist Church for more than 10 years remembers searching for a creative ministry to help the community. He settled on a food pantry. "It had been his wish to start this," said Jack Garvin. "He brought it before the church in 2003 to begin feeding the needy."

So, that summer Living Bread Food Pantry was born. Brown said he got in contact with a person from New Albany who helped him learn how to start and run a food pantry, a venture that has grown each year.

The first Saturday Living Bread was open, he said, there were more than 10 families. And it grew each weekend. "We underestimated the need in the community," Brown said of the organization now serving an average of 40 families each week with a record of 83 one Saturday.

"Brother Tom has spent many hours getting donations for food and money," Garvin said. "The man deserves recognition. I've belonged to many churches and this one really helps a lot of people in the community." No one is refused, he added.

Brown said volunteers make Living Bread work. Volunteers work on a rotating basis on teams. Team members go and pick up food each week then help each Saturday distribute food and personal care items. Anyone can volunteer, he said, adding that even past and present clients of the pantry volunteer in order to give back all the help they've received.

"We go through a lot of food," Brown said, estimating that they give away about $50 in food and personal care items to each family. Food prices have also gone up, he continued, but because of donations from businesses, donations, fundraisers and some funds from the Southern Baptist Hunger Fund, they're still able to help hundreds of families each month.

The pantry is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and by appointment only Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to its regular hours, Living Bread also has a 24-hour emergency service for those in severe need.

Anyone who would like to volunteer or who needs help can call 547-2498 to set up an appointment with Garvin. Donations to help the pantry's mission can be mailed to Living Bread Food Pantry, P.O. Box 41, Tell City, IN 47586.

To nominate someone for the Hometown Hero Award, send their name, telephone number and a few words on why you're nominating them to Hometown Heroes, The Perry County News, P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586. Information may be e-mailed to lifestyles@perrycountynews.com.