LITTLETON, Colo. -- There is a church in Littleton that quietly reaches out to those who are hungry. And 7Everyday Hero Debi Gorka coordinates the effort that feeds both body and soul.
"It is the Saint Mary Parish Pantry," said Gorka.
"We don't want anyone to go hungry," added fellow volunteer Betty Vielhauer.
For more than 25 years, a small army of cheerful volunteers at the parish has been reaching out to help those in need.
"We are open on Mondays to anyone who needs food here in the community," said Gorka.
That usually means 100 families, or more, each week. And Gorka coordinates the whole project.
"She has got such good organizational skills, and is a people person, and she just has us all organized," said Vielhauer.
"I think what she brings is an incredible sense of inclusiveness, where everyone is welcome here. It's like a big family," said volunteer Mary Navin.
With volunteers at their side, the clients go up and down the aisles of food, shopping for what they need. That includes canned goods, fresh bread and vegetables.
"It is just much better. Less waste, people get to choose what they can use," said Gorka.
Gorka says it is more dignified to shop for food, rather than just handing people a sack of food. And it also helps the parish achieve a larger goal.
"A big part of our mission is to offer friendship to those who come," said Gorka.
In fact, the volunteers at the Saint Mary Parish Pantry get to know the clients. That way the clients know someone cares, and the when the volunteers learn of other pressing needs like healthcare or transportation issues, they can refer the clients to other agencies.
"Saint Mary's is wonderful. All the donors and volunteers are great. It has just been wonderful. Thank you all," said one client.
The residents of Littleton, and everyone at Saint Mary Catholic Parish should be proud, and thankful for 7Everyday Hero Debi Gorka who has led this effort for nearly 14 years.
To learn more about the Saint Mary Parish Pantry go to www.stmarylittleton.org.
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.