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Islander of the year: Roser Food Pantry, chair Leckie

By Bonner Joy,

Annie Weir, left, of Dogs for the Earth and Art for the Earth, with help from Tiffany, presents a check to Roser Food Pantry volunteers Mary Selby, center, and Pam Leckie.

I came to be acquainted with the Roser Food Pantry in its humble beginnings, while delivering food to a tiny closet in a hallway between the chapel and sanctuary at Roser Memorial Community Church.

More recently, I sent someone in need for help, first to the food pantry and also to All Island Denominations — the interfaith group representing all the churches on Anna Maria Island.

The individual and his situation were properly vetted and he received much needed aid. He was so pleased to have groceries to help him through his economic hard times and someone to console his depression, he came to The Islander office many times to express his appreciation.

While we don’t all see the benefits of our work, the Roser Food Pantry and its chair Pam Leckie — who literally brought the pantry out of the closet — can be most proud of their assistance to needy islanders.

The pantry started about 2004. When Leckie took over in 2009, they were just about to move into the new pantry facility across from the chapel on Pine Avenue. It opened in spring of 2010.

While the numbers for 2012 aren’t yet known, in 2011 they distributed almost 1,500 bags of food. Each recipient also receives a gift card to purchase fresh foods.

Leckie and her volunteers, from food packers to beggars for donations, are among the best.

Leckie says she tries to write thank-you notes for donations, but so many are small or anonymous, that she wishes to publicly thank any she might have missed, and she “relies on The Islander to help fill that need … and to keep the pantry in people’s minds.”

On behalf of those who benefit and those who can’t find the words to properly say thank you on their behalf, the food pantry and Leckie are our choice for Islander of the Year 2012.

We thank you many times over.

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