A solitary jar of peanut butter sits on a shelf ready to be bagged with other food for hungry people.
It’s the only peanut butter left at Community Provisions of Jackson County, but Charles and Phyllis Seybold vow there will be more, along with jelly, canned vegetables, soup and crackers, spaghetti and sauce, cans of tuna, skillet meals and more.
The Seymour couple are the new co-directors of the food pantry located at 107 W. Bruce St. in Seymour. They replace Paul Brock, who started Provisions in 1997. He led the nonprofit organization up until his retirement in June.
"Paul had a vision and started with one bag of groceries," Chuck said.
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Over the years, the food pantry, with support from the community, has served thousands of local residents providing food to those in need. It’s not alone, as there are several food pantries in the county that remain busy year-round, including one at Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, Seymour Harvest Church and The Alley.
Although rumors started to spread that Provisions would close with Brock’s departure, Charles said nothing could be further from the truth.
"As long as there are hungry people, we are here to feed them," he said.
And there is absolutely no judgment on anyone who walks through the door, he added.
"We’re going to do the Christian thing," Charles said. "I’m not the judge, and I’m not going to be the judge. They’re hungry, and we’re going to feed them."
The pantry is open every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. and is serving around 40 families or 120 to 130 individuals weekly. It used to be open twice a week, and the Seybolds would like to offer two days again in the future.
"As the demand grows, and I think it will, we’re going to have to go back to another day a week," Charles said.
Each client gets two grocery bags full of food along with other items, like 2 liters of soda and bottled water, when they are available.
Right now, donations are down, and the pantry is in need of more food and more money, which is used to purchase food. The Seybolds have sent out letters to area churches to get them on board with supporting the organization through food drives.
Besides canned and boxed food, the pantry also gets donations of perishable items that are given out, including fresh produce and frozen meat from local farmers, loaves of bread and gallons of milk.
Community Provisions does not receive food from other food banks and relies entirely on local support, including from area businesses such as Ruler Foods Warehouse, Walmart Distribution Center and Pepsi Co., all in Seymour.
Charles said they are working to revive a partnership with Midwest Food Bank in Indianapolis to secure more food.
"This is a community-driven organization right here, right now," he said. "I’m not saying that won’t change in the future because I’m not sure that’s sustainable. Community support being what community support is, it kind of comes and goes."
During the holidays, donations will increase, and the pantry will be "bursting at the seams," he said.
But that level of giving is needed year-round, Phyllis said.
Families are limited to one visit to the pantry per month and must have a valid photo identification and proof of residency in Jackson County.
To make distribution more efficient, volunteers bag the groceries ahead of time so people don’t have to wait as long. It’s a change that was implemented to make it quicker for more people to get in, get the food they need and get out.
"And it works," Phyllis said.
The Seybolds have long been involved in the community and have volunteered at Community Provisions for several years.
They knew Brock was retiring and the pantry’s board of directors was searching for a new director, so when Brock asked them if they would be interested in taking over, they agreed.
"We thought, ‘We’ve got to keep busy,’" Charles said. "And I don’t want to look back 10 years from now and wish I had."
Staying busy hasn’t been an issue for the Seybolds, as working and giving back are part of their lifestyle.
"Both of us pretty much have to be around people," Charles said. "The more we got involved, the more we wanted to be involved."
Charles retired five years ago after 43 years with Jay C Food Stores, working as the technology director at the company’s warehouse in Freeman Field Industrial Park. He also served 22 years in the military.
Other service organizations he belongs to are Sertoma Club of Jackson County and Jackson Masonic Lodge 146 in Seymour.
Phyllis retired after eight years from Seymour Community Schools. Besides her work at Community Provisions, she also volunteers with Meals on Wheels and the Jackson County Clothing Center.
She started volunteering at Community Provisions before Charles.
"There were some volunteers here that we knew," she said.
Community Provisions couldn’t fulfill its mission of "Lending a helping hand to the area’s hungry" without its strong volunteer base, which includes an active board of directors, the Seybolds said.
"We’ve got some great volunteers," Charles said.
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What: Community Provisions of Jackson County food pantry
Where: 107 W. Bruce Street, Seymour
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. Tuesdays