Feeding the Flock
The growing number of hungry in Franklin, Indiana does not intimidate LaTheda Noonan. She pushes even harder to match the rising demand at Interchurch Food Pantry. In the past year the Pantry’s client base has increased by almost 30%, while tough economic conditions have caused donations to drop by nearly as much.
“Christ told each of us to feed His sheep,” says LaTheda and that is what inspires her to serve her community.
Not only has LaTheda met the challenge of feeding more people in her community, but she has pressed for a higher quality of service for the Pantry’s clients. Under her leadership she brought the Pantry into State and Federal Health Department compliance so that the organization now qualifies for Federal commodities. Additionally, LaTheda succeeded in securing a donated three-door, industrial freezer and she is working to obtain two more. Together the freezer and the health department compliance enable the Pantry to distribute additional products – including meat, fruit, juice, shelf ready milk, nuts, oatmeal and flour – they were previously unable to provide.
LaTheda continues to seek new ways to offer healthier choices for the clients. Always striving to deliver more, LaTheda worked with a nutritionist from Purdue University to develop menus and to create a cookbook that utilizes the Pantry’s core foods. They are now in the process of developing a program of onsite cooking classes to teach clients some nutritious recipes and basic cooking tips.
LaTheda’s dedication inspires others to join the effort. She has recruited students and even clients to devote their time to the Pantry. Her efforts have doubled the number of active volunteers at Interchurch Food Pantry to nearly 100.
LaTheda understands the power of calling others to serve. “If each of us bettered our own corner of the world we would have no hunger, no violence, no unclothed, no injured,” she says.