SELINSGROVE — Thirty-three years after taking on the role as coordinator of the Loaves and Fishes Food Bank at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Vivian Beaver is turning over the responsibility to Randy Tanner.
"For 33 years you have given it your all," said Pastor Dietmar Plajer during a Friday morning ceremony honoring Beaver's work in which a dogwood tree was planted in her honor on the church lawn at 400 N. Market St.
A humbled Beaver gestured toward a crowd of about 35 food bank volunteers and responded, "They made it possible."
Recalling how she was invited to help out at the newly launched church-run food bank more than three decades ago that served about 90 each month, she never expected to be overseeing an organization that feeds about 250 on the last Friday of each month so many years later.
Loaves and Fishes Food Bank is supported by the Snyder County Community Action with funds totaling about $14,000 annually from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Beaver's daughter, Jennifer Bernstein, of Winfield, said her mother was dedicated to the program and spent "the week leading up to the last Friday of the month and the week after" shopping for the best deals on food and working with a team of volunteers to bag it up for recipients and filling out paperwork required by the state.
Plajer commended Beaver not only for her long service, but the "dignity and care" she showed everyone.
Tanner, who has worked as a food bank volunteer for five years, hopes to continue serving in that same spirit.
"She treated everyone as family," he said.
Beaver said she will continue to work as a volunteer.
"I can't turn my back on it," she said.