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Food pantry recognizes student’s community service

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By Sean Arnold

Bill Brown wanted to recognize the kind of students that embody the values of giving back that his food pantry The Children’s Table has practiced.

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Brown says The Children’s Table has distributed 29 million pounds of food to the needy in North Florida in its 21 years of operation, with a primary focus on Levy County, and rural communities from Putnam, Alachua, and Bradford counties.

His food charity has now created a new program to award Levy County students who excel in community service.

At the Levy County Commission meeting Tuesday, Brown presented the first such award to Thomas Ruth.

Ruth was presented a plaque in recognition of his “dedicated service as an outstanding junior citizen for the citizens of Levy County.”

Brown noted Ruth’s service, including through programs for the homeless as well as his work with The Children’s Table, which has included carrying baskets of food for those who were physically impaired.

Brown highlighted the fact that Ruth recently donated, without hesitation, all $840 he received from the sale of a pig he raised at the Suwannee River Fair in Fanning Springs to the Children’s Table.

Brown outlined the work of The Children’s Table, an all-volunteer organization that receives no government funding. Last month, 3,584 of the 7,767 people it distributed food to were at Levy County locations. It’s distributed to nine counties, with plans to distribute to a tenth.

“We have two people that have combined to volunteer for nearly 50,000 hours with The Children’s Table in the 21 years we have been doing business,” Brown said. “One of those has gone on to become an executive with United Way in Washington, and she just organized and hosted a seminar in Atlanta for non-profit organizations.”

For more on the Children’s Table, call (352) 486-6525.