Hilltop’s Village Food Pantry Renamed, Serves Valparaiso Families in Need

By: Hilltop Neighborhood House Last Updated: May 22, 2014

village-food-pantry-renamed-01For individuals and families that have turned to Hilltop’s Village Food Pantry to help make ends meet, everything’s coming up roses…especially if they had the opportunity to be served with a warm smile by Rose Gray, the food pantry coordinator for 12 years.

“Rose was the epitome of the type of person that worked tirelessly to provide help to those community members in need,” said Jennifer Wright, CEO, Hilltop Neighborhood House. “Rose and her husband, Rich, did it all. They worked with Opportunity Enterprises’ clients to help fill the food orders, collected donations from local vendors and churches, and passed out food at the pantry. These are the type of volunteers that can make any program successful.”

In honor of Rose, who passed away on March 10 of this year, the Village Food Pantry will be officially renamed the “Rose Gray Hilltop Food Pantry.” Rose will be honored at May 28 at the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club meeting as Hilltop’s Volunteer of the Year. Her daughter, Melissa, and her husband, Rich, will be accepting the plaque in her honor.

When Jennifer (Wright) spoke with Rose at the VNA Hospice Center a mere days before her passing, they talked about the Food Pantry. Jennifer asked if she had any words of wisdom for Hilltop moving forward. Rose’s reply about the people she has served through the years was to “remember: they are people, not papers.”

And people within they community, they are. The Rose Gray Hilltop Food Pantry serves approximately 400 individuals every month…year-round. In 2013, the food pantry served a record high of 900 individuals, with the number continuing to grow.

Just recently, Amy, a food pantry volunteer, had 18 clients come through the doors in a 2-1/2 hour period.

Although the Food Pantry is known for passing out food staples, it also provides families in need with other supplies to make their lives a little easier while helping local children’s smiles shine brightly. Holiday food baskets go out to make special times of the year more festive. Vouchers for new shoes put a spring in the steps of back-to-school students. Coat drives help families bundle up during the cold winter months. And school supplies equip the students with the tools they need to be their best.

village-food-pantry-renamed-02In addition to the regular hours of the food pantry – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9- 11:30 a.m., the Food Pantry also hosts many special events to help raise money for this worthwhile cause. For example, the Food Pantry has partnered with Super Wash Car Wash during the month of May. Super Wash Car Wash will donate $1.00 of every “Super Wash” auto selection made to the Rose Gray Hilltop Food Pantry, plus a $1.50 donation will go for every 4-wash token package sold! The closest Super Wash in Valparaiso is located at 376 W Us-6 (between Greenfield Ln. and North County Road 400 W).

About the Village Food Pantry
Hilltop’s Village Food Pantry has been in operation since 1996 and has used the inside of three different locations as its home over the years, now making its home at 604 E. Monroe Street (behind Union Community Church). The pantry is best accessed from Brown Street via the driveway located across from Alice’s House (606 Brown). Take the driveway up and you will be led directly to our food pantry.

Donations are always needed and appreciated. Our food pantry accepts perishable and non-perishable food items. If you wish to make a donation to Hilltop’s Food Pantry, please call (219) 531-1991 and ask to speak to Amy Osburn.