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Volunteers Run Food Distribution Program
Volunteers, many of them elderly, are the heart of the Riverbank Christian Food Sharing group that has distributed food to the Riverbank needy every Friday for 26 years. Nobody is paid. They are all volunteer and about 20 of them are active volunteers, which means working three or four mornings a week and extra hours when necessary.

Some like Ida Kennedy, Wanda Wallace, Yolanda Guider, her mother Lucy Alcala and until recently Bernice Bick and Betty Asman (both now retired) are in their 60s to 80s and have been working for the group for more than 20 years.

Kennedy, now 82, recalled she arrived in Riverbank from Oklahoma in 1942 and has been coming down to the Scout Hall, where the food distributions occur, four days a week for 24 years. "On Fridays I arrive at 6:30 a.m. because there are a lot of things to be put out for the serving that starts at 9 a.m," she said.

"The Lord gets all the glory. I just like to help people," said Wallace of her reasons for working with the group since she turned 59. "He helped us set up the organization. So we could help people who need it. He opened the door for us to meet a need and feel good about it."

Wallace is retired now but used to work in the fields with her husband, now deceased, who also had a small television repair shop at his home.

While Kennedy is in charge of "the kitchen" workers and at the Scout Hall several days a week, Wallace works only on Fridays. On the other days, she said, "I hang around the house and go to church."

Alcala worked at Riverbank Pharmacy and later Ron's Pharmacy on Atchison Street until her children were grown up, retired in 1991 and turned to community service including working at the Christian Food Sharing site.

Her daughter, Guider, retired from fulltime work and a long commute to the Bay Area in 1997 and now works only part-time for Kohl's in Riverbank so she helps the food distribution group on her days off on Thursday and Friday. She also is involved with the Riverbank Historical Society and Royal Neighbors of America.

Richard Boos is one of the three drivers of the truck which the group uses to pick up food from various stores and agencies, the other drivers being Bruce Asman and Allen Trawick.

"I'm in charge of the truck. Anything that goes wrong, whether it needs new tires or an oil change or anything, I'm responsible," said Boos. "I'm also in charge of purchasing the food. That's a lot of work."

Boos retired here after working 38 years for the Civil Service in southern California.

"I soon got tired of lying around. I discovered you can only mow your lawn six times a week. So I asked around and came over here to help. That was about seven and a half years ago."

His wife Julie Boos is one of a group of three women who have co-chaired the organization since Bick retired a year ago. The other two leaders besides Boos are Lynda Silva and Guider.

The weekly distribution continues through the holiday season, helping make sure families have food to put on the table for Thanksgiving and Christmas.