Coal Grove man comes through for food pantries

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 30, 2004

COAL GROVE - No longer even needing an alarm clock, John Robbins looks forward to getting out bed each morning - especially Mondays.

Every Monday for the past decade, the 78-year-old Coal Grove

resident has gotten up at his usual time of 4:30 a.m., stopped for breakfast and headed to Kroger in Russell, Ky., to pick up surplus food that has reached

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its expiration dates but is still good. He then splits it up among local food pantries.

"I think it is important because there are a lot of needs. I don't know how many people who are out of work that depend on the food pantries. These are people that would work if there were jobs," Robbins said.

"I am just a link in the chain. Kroger is willing to give it and I am willing to go get it."

Picking up a variety of items including bakery products, bread, dairy products, canned goods, produce and meat, Robbins splits the food up among the food pantries at the City Welfare Mission, First Methodist Church and Central Christian Church.

Robbins retired from Allied Signal after 32 years but then went on to Ashland Oil for 13 more. It was through the retired Ashland Oil employees program, that he became a part of this service.

"I am busier now than when I worked. I really enjoy it," he said. "I can't wait to get out of bed in the morning. I enjoy doing things that are constructive and beneficial to other people."

Robbins said volunteering can be so rewarding he finds it amazing that more people do not get involved.

If it was not for Robbins and another retired Ashland Oil employee, the Mission would not have these extra resources, said Jim Cremeans, director of the City Welfare Mission.

"It is a blessing. It is a big help," Cremeans said. "For John to bring it over here, he donates his time. He like to help people. He is a man with a big heart."