MURRAY — A wheelchair ramp was stolen from a food pantry in Murray, causing a major hurdle for one volunteer who just wants to help feed hungry families.
When community members heard about it, an army of helpers donated their time and money to make it right.
"Your heart kind of drops," said Jennifer Brass. "Who does that?"
For Jennifer Brass, the wheelchair ramp leading into the Murray Children's Pantry was her bridge to helping others.
"My wife is a volunteer," said Jennifer's husband, Jim Brass, who is also president of the pantry. "She's in a wheelchair. She's had MS for 30 years."
Someone stole her means of accessibility.
"It baffles me. That is a necessary piece of equipment," said Jim. "We have someone who can't work here if they can't get into the building."
The cost of replacing the ramp was high.
"It would've been in the neighborhood of 260 meals to replace the ramp," said Jim.
Every meal counts for this grassroots effort that started with the onset of the pandemic.
Many children and elderly in Murray city have been going hungry.
"We average about 4,000 meals a month," said Jim.
I can't say enough about this community. We couldn't be here without that kind of help.
–Jim Brass, Murray Children’s Pantry president
The Brass couple said they would not let any obstacle get in their way of helping.
"You got to roll with the punches," said Jennifer.
"It keeps me awake at night — nightmares about what am I gonna do if I can't help," said Jim.
That's when the community gave back to the husband and wife who have given them so much.
"People said they will contribute the wood, people said they would contribute a new temporary ramp, it just goes on and on," said Jennifer.
A new ramp will be picked up Monday from considerate donors.
"We find we tear up a lot here," said Jim. "I can't say enough about this community. We couldn't be here without that kind of help."
The donated replacement ramp will bring many smiles as Jim has had replacement surgery on both his shoulders and his hip, making it difficult for him to carry his wife into the pantry.
The Murray Children's Pantry is open every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon. It's a no questions asked environment.
Jim said anyone who is in need and hungry can visit the pantry and a bag of food will be waiting for them.
In addition to offering bags of food for families on Tuesdays and some Saturdays, the Murray Children's Pantry provides 35 food bags at Twin Peaks Elementary, 15 to Woodstock Elementary and numerous bags to the local senior center.
"People look at Murray as a traditionally wealthy community, but in fact we have many people who suffer from food shortage," Jim said. "The pandemic hit this city very hard. Many children have nothing to eat on Saturdays and Sundays, outside of weekday school lunches. We are doing all we can to stop hunger."
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