|
|
Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Hannibal woman decides to feed the hungry

  • At the end of October, Pam Rivera closed the Abby Rose in downtown Hannibal after five years. Early next year Rivera plans to re-open the restaurant for at least one day a week, not to turn a profit, but to meet what she believes is a local need - feeding Hannibal’s hungry.


    • email print
  • At the end of October, Pam Rivera closed the Abby Rose in downtown Hannibal after five years. Early next year Rivera plans to re-open the restaurant for at least one day a week, not to turn a profit, but to meet what she believes is a local need - feeding Hannibal’s hungry.
    Beginning Thursday, Jan. 5, Rivera will open the doors to her building at 110 North Main St. and serve a hot bowl of soup to whoever comes in, regardless of whether they have a dime to their name.
    “We’ll open our doors at 3 p.m. and be there until the food runs out,” she said.
    The motivation behind the outreach is not complicated.
    “The Lord put it on my heart. It’s that simple,” she said. “I feel wonderful that I can give back.”
    The thought of starting such an effort was in the back of Rivera’s mind before “retiring” and closing the restaurant due to her husband’s health. During the weeks which followed the urge to help only grew stronger.
    “I heard of a young couple here in Hannibal with a young child that was homeless. That made me want to do it even more,” she said. “I’ve been seeing families (in need) on the news. It’s hard for them. Parents will go without food before their child, but a parent can’t put in a good day if they’re hungry.”
    According to Rivera, the time seems perfect to start this outreach.
    “I wanted to get through the holidays,” she said. “In January and February, people’s money is tight with electric bills higher and gas bills higher. People have to cut back on something and they will on food.”
    People stopping by the Abby Rose for a meal can expect some type of soup, an entree and a variety of bread.
    “It could be my roasted red pepper soup, to just whatever we can come up with,” said Rivera. “We want it to be hot and nutritious. I know right now I have 10 pounds of macaroni in the pantry that we’re going to do something with.”
    While donations from those being served will be appreciated, a cash contribution is not mandatory to be fed.
    “I’ll have a donation jar or can if they can put something in or not, but I do not want pride to enter into this. If someone comes in with a dime or penny to donate and it makes them feel better, that’s fine,” said Rivera. “For those who are a little more fortunate, they can come in and eat, and if they leave a donation, we’d love it.”
    Rivera admits her outreach will need community support to be successful and long lasting.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I’ll be donating my facility, my time and some of the food,” she said. “People can donate their time or money. We’ll take whatever anyone wants to donate. If someone wanted to donate their time to find (food) donations, that would be wonderful.”
    At this point, Rivera won’t speculate about how long she’ll be able to keep her doors open.
    “I have my building for sale. I envision doing this until I sell the building, which I don’t expect being very soon with this economy,” she said. “I hope when I’m no longer able to do this someone will come in and take over.”
    Feeding the hungry
    Rivera is not the first person to reach out to Hannibal’s hungry. The Loaves and Fishes program, which features approximately 20 local groups taking turns at providing meals, in recent years has been doing its best to curb hunger. Based at the First United Methodist Church, 901 Broadway, Loaves and Fishes provides hot meals Mondays through Fridays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    “I just think it (Loaves and Fishes) is a wonderful outreach to the area because a lot of people walk to it,” said Rev. Helen McFarland of the First United Methodist Church, noting that on average from 50 to 55 people are fed nightly by the program.
    Advised of Rivera’s plans, McFarland had no objections.
    “I guess I’m wondering what the purpose is if Loaves and Fishes is already serving? That would be my question,” she said. “If the other person was picking up Saturday night, that would make sense.”
    McFarland hopes Rivera’s endeavor is a success.
    “I wish that person blessings. Any time you start a new endeavor there will be things you haven’t thought of. She’s going to have to figure out her food angle,” said the reverend. “If she is very successful at this it will be just another opportunity to people who are hungry in the community.”
     

        calendar