Women & Girls Fund honors Kathy Weaver with the 2016 Women & Girls Fund Award
“Each of us has met someone special who has come into our lives, either personally or professionally, who demonstrates on a daily basis leadership, vision, integrity, compassion, cooperation, and generosity. That person to me is Kathy Weaver, my nomination for the Women & Girls Fund Award”, wrote Alex Handy describing her as the “heart and soul” of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVDP), whose mission is to serve the needs of the poor.
As the manager of the Food Pantry for more than 15 years, Kathy has seen it move from Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church’s former parish hall where they helped 20 – 30 families a week giving out bags of food every Wednesday afternoon for an hour to its current 5,000 sq. ft. building on Canvasback Dr., where last year they gave out 9,500 bags of groceries to 183 families and individuals. Their hours have expanded to 2 days a week, Tuesdays from 1to 4pm and Saturdays from 9am to 12pm. Their services have expanded too, to the sale of donated clothing, house wares, and furniture. Additionally, in part due to Kathy’s care and concern for others, SVDP also offers financial assistance for those facing eviction, medical bills, homelessness, and other crises. “I was surprised,” wrote Handy, “at how involved Kathy was in these peoples’ lives.”
Now the largest food bank in Talbot County, the Food Pantry has become a hub for 20 other food pantries. Kathy sources the food items for each time the Food Pantry is open. “That can be pretty tricky,” says Kathy, “It means shopping at the Maryland Food Bank, in Salisbury, as well as local groceries, like Acme, Food Lion, Giant, and Safeway, and other stores, such as Target and BJ’s Wholesale, to find what we need. And, she added, “If we’re out of peanut butter, or cereal, or fruit or vegetables, we have to call around, find it, and go get it. It’s stressful, but it has to be done, in order to keep our clients fed.” Food comes in every weekday, which requires volunteers (SVDP has more than 200) to unload and otherwise handle the food. Kathy has also added Councell Farm produce during the growing season, and encouraged students from every local school and college to collect food and work in the pantry.
Every Thanksgiving, Kathy works with Sts. Peter and Paul Elementary School in providing Thanksgiving food baskets for families sponsored by the Talbot County Dept. of Social Services. And, at Christmas, she oversees SVDP’s “Angel Tree” at the church. She has volunteered with the Salvation Army and as an instructor for the Talbot County Master Gardeners program. Her energy, enthusiasm, and empathy for her volunteer activities – especially the Food Pantry – is boundless.
A Saint Vincent de Paul volunteer, Michaela Early, described Kathy in this way, “Your first time to the Food Pantry, you meet Kathy; on your 2nd time, she knows your name; and, the 3rd time, you get a hug. She is a most amazing woman.”
And, so it is with great pleasure, the Women & Girls Fund names Kathy Weaver the recipient of the 2016 Women & Girls Fund Award.