The Angel Behind Paul's Pantry

Published: Dec. 5, 2017 at 3:21 PM CST
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Growing up in a tough environment in Detroit, including time in an orphanage, Angie Allard saw a lot of folks struggling to make ends meet.

"I knew a lot of needy people when I lived in Michigan. They were really, really starving. I was so happy to see this place take care of the needy people. It really made me feel good," says Angie.

In 1985, a part-time job allowed Angie to volunteer at the pantry before and after work.

Within a year she became the pantry's first employee, and she hasn't looked back.

"I'm the manager, I have fun, I love it," says Angie.

"She's got a tough exterior, but she's got the biggest, warmest heart you'd ever see," says Craig Robbins, Paul's Pantry executive director.

Robbins says Paul's Pantry simply wouldn't be the same without Angie's leadership and dedication.

"She is like the volunteers' mother. We tease her a lot because like every mom she likes to scold her kids if people are doing something they're not supposed to," says Robbins.

For Angie, the volunteers are like family.

"I don't want to see these people go without. They do a lot of work down here. They're recipients that need the food. They're down here doing this work everyday," says Angie.

Angie credits the community for the generous food and cash donations that continue to meet a growing need.

Robbins credits Angie for her unwavering commitment.

"Everything she does revolves around Paul's Pantry. She's here six days a week. She's 75. I often talk to her daughter -- Angie doesn't know that I do, but we give each other reports back and forth, make sure she's taking care of herself and not doing too much," says Robbins.

As expected, Angie brushes off any talk of retirement.

"Whatever it takes, 20, 30, 40, 50 years, I don't care," Angie says with a chuckle, then adds, "I feel good. I got the energy, I can walk around here all day long, don't bother me. This place makes me feel good, makes me feel good that nobody is going to go out of here hungry."