Angel Among Us keeps food pantry going for 50 years

Angels Among Us

HOOPESTON, Ill. (WCIA) — Bordeom is what first brought Delores Crabtree to the Grant Township Food Cupboard.

“I guess I just had free time and they needed volunteers,” she remembered.

The mom of six was looking for something to do when her youngest started school back in the seventies. First she was a volunteer. Now she’s the food coordinator. She said it helps her keep her days straight and so many of them are spent here. She’s here at least three or four a week every month. Gene Hanson is the cupboard’s Board Chairman. He has worked with Crabtree for decades.

“I don’t think at the present time that we would operate very efficiently without Delores. We’d all have to learn our new roles. It would be a struggle for a couple months to figure out all the things that she does.”

Crabtree orders the food, unloads it, stocks the shelves, and cleans. Carolyn Longest is a volunteer there.

She said, “She’s the leader of all leaders.”

The 84-year old heads up a team of volunteers that feeds 350 people in and around Hoopeston a month.

“If you didn’t have the support of this community and the volunteers and stuff, I wouldn’t have nothing,” said Crabtree. “I can’t do it by myself. It takes more than one person to run this food cupboard.”

When people come to the food cupboard, they will leave with a stocked pantry. They get baked goods, two huge boxes of food, some personal care items and many packages of frozen meat. Crabtree thinks about the people who told her without the cupboard, their children wouldn’t have food. It’s those stories that have kept her going for 50 years.

“You accomplished something. You did something for someone else,” Crabtree said. “I figured the day God says, ‘You’re done,’ and I’ll be done. But until that day, I’m going.”

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