Miss Virginia’s pantry receives $46,000 gift

February 23, 2019

Leaders of Miss Virginia’s Food Pantry gathered under a photograph of the facility’s namesake Thursday morning to accept a $46,000 donation from Belmont Beverage.

“Clair and Gary, don’t know we can ever tell you how thankful we are for you choosing us to be the recipients of the profits of your auction,” said Leon Youngpeter, food pantry board president.

Clair McKinley, president, and Gary Gardner, operations manager, represented Belmont Beverage at the brief ceremony.

The business raised the money through an annual auction of high-priced and rare bourbons. Past beneficiaries include Community Harvest Food Bank and Matthew 25 Health and Dental Clinic.

“Every charity is a good charity,” Gardner said, “and you have to pick one.”

Leaders of the volunteer-run, Hanna Street food pantry believe the donation is the largest it has received.

Joe Miller, the executive director, said it will be put to good use.

“You can see we need improvements,” he said.

The warehouse floor is slippery and uneven, more space is needed and the gravel parking lot needs to be paved, Miller said.

“We don’t want people waiting in the mud,” he said.

Open twice a week, the food pantry last year served an average 860 people each week, Miller said. He noted that number does not include other family members in those households, so the total fed was likely more.

The pantry is located in the former home of its namesake, Virginia Schrantz, who served Fort Wayne’s inner-city poor for more than 40 years. She died in 1998 at age 91.

A photograph of Schrantz meeting Mother Teresa hangs inside the food pantry above the text, “Our Inspiration.”