Get to know the town: Avid food pantry volunteer Carol Kalinofski

Carol Kalinofski turned a career in the restaurant industry into a passion for volunteering. She is seen here with her daughter Michele Candito. Special to The Journal

Carol Kalinofski turned a career in the restaurant industry into a passion for volunteering. She is seen here with her daughter Michele Candito. Special to The Journal

Name: Carol Kalinofski

Home state: New Jersey

Occupation: Retired from the restaurant industry

When did you move to Harrington?

“My husband was in the chemical industry and they phased out his job in New Jersey. So they offered to move us to Louisiana until he retired, because he was close to that age. After he retired, we moved here to be within a couple of hours of the kids.

“My daughter is in Pennsylvania, a son is in Chesapeake, Va. and our other son was in New Jersey. Then he moved down here. We’ll have been here for 14 years on May 8.”

Tell us about your volunteer roles?

“I’m the co-treasurer at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Harrington. I’ve been there for six years. And I’m very much a part of the Lake Forest Church Association and food pantry. I’m the secretary and do intake.”

Why do you volunteer?

“I get such reward for it. And I like to see things through. If it’s something that has to be done, we do. Let’s put one foot in front of the other and just do it.”

Tell us about the food pantry?

“It’s a wonderful, local organization that feeds over 200 families a month all through the love and dedication of volunteers. We’re only in the Lake Forest School District. The food pantry has helped with so many lives.”

What is it like volunteering with the food pantry?

“It’s sad that we need to operate. But it’s so rewarding to help offer that basic need. Sometimes, we get fresh produce from local farmers. I’ll say, ‘Here, take some squash.’ But they usually say the same thing. ‘I wouldn’t know what to do with it.’ So I started working on recipe cards to help guide them.”

How does it all get done?

“With a lot of volunteer efforts. The Food Lion does great for us with day-old and sometimes even new food. The chief of police comes over and helps carry in the food sometimes. The town’s Christmas Club has donated, too. It’s like somebody’s always willing to help me do something else. Byler’s is also a great help. It’s really great to see the people who step forward to help others out.

“The post office is about to do a food drive, too, on May 14. All the food donated through the Harrington and Felton post offices will come directly to us. It’s an important food drive for us. During the holidays, people remember to help. But I do think they forget people need to eat all year round.”

Do you accept only food donations?

“Of course not! We take monetary donations, too. That dollar can go a lot farther for me at the food bank than it could you, even at Byler’s.”

What did you do before you retired?

“I worked for 38 years in the restaurant industry. It’s a people business, I loved it. I love talking food and I’m applying in now. It’s a family legacy that spilled over to people who need.”

What are your hobbies?

“My love is to see our grandchildren do what they love to do. I dabble in yoga. I start everyday with a walk, then I usually end it with a little yoga to round it out. I love my plants. I have orchids and violets. And we love spending time with our dog, Gracie.”

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