Commentary by Brad Thompson
High school students at St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church participate in a monthly service at various locations around the Indianapolis area, serving the poor. One such location is The Lord’s Pantry at Anna’s House, located in Stringtown on the near west side of Indianapolis. Unlike a typical food pantry that distributes canned goods, The Lord’s Pantry focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables as well as meat.
About 30 students from St. Alphonsus joined students from other parts of the Indianapolis area one Saturday morning to unload a truck full of food and set up food displays before the customers arrived. Well-organized and at the same time somewhat chaotic with perhaps 60 volunteers, the students set up food stands in a row that allowed a constant flow of customers to select the food they wanted. Half the students worked behind the tables, and the other half each took a customer and walked through the line, helping them carry their produce. Indeed, in many cases the boys helped elderly customers carry the food to their cars.
In between the set up and the distribution of the food, one of the staff members gave all the volunteers assembled a history of The Lord’s Pantry. Inspired by the Mozel Sander’s Thanksgiving dinner, a Baptist minister named Lucious Newsom wanted to help feed the poor beyond just the holidays. His vision caught on, and through the years hundreds of volunteers have come together to distribute food out of a building named for a little girl. Anna volunteered passionately despite the fact that she was confined to a wheelchair and required a breathing machine. She passed away at age 12.