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Good Deeds: Volunteer feels good ‘to see smiling faces and knowing we are helping people’

JoAnne Batiste is the coordinator of God’s Food Pantry at 1209 N. Indiana. (March 13, 2014)
JoAnne Batiste is the coordinator of God’s Food Pantry at 1209 N. Indiana. (March 13, 2014) The Wichita Eagle

In her former life, JoAnne Batiste worked for a stock brokerage firm in San Francisco.

It never gave her the satisfaction and feelings, she said, that she has now as the coordinator of God’s Food Pantry, 1209 N. Indiana.

“We provide groceries twice a month to families. We get between 500 and 700 people twice a month who come and get a bag of groceries,” Batiste said. “We are considered as a walk-in agency so people don’t have to show proof of need. They just show up. We give them a bag of food.”

It is all volunteer work – from ordering the food, pickup, sorting and distributing.

“I do everything but pay the bills,” she said.

The pantry is overseen as a ministry by the Holy Savior Catholic Church.

In 2004, Batiste retired and moved from San Francisco to be closer to her children and grandchildren. As she began looking for something to do, God’s Food Pantry became an important part of her life.

“It makes me feel good to see smiling faces and knowing we are helping people,” she said. “When you see it’s winter, there is snow on the ground and people are already in line for food at 6:30 in the morning, it feels good knowing we can help out a tiny bit.

“It warms my heart to see God’s work in action.”

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