Jean Gilbert, Small but Mighty
If you’ve ever stopped by our DMARC food pantry on a Saturday morning you’ve probably seen a tiny (4’10”), grandmother working alongside teenagers who tower above her as they staff the pantry and clothes closet during some of the most hectic hours we are open. It’s a combination that works well…. Jean Gilbert respecting the energy, knowledge, and strength of the youth and the youth looking to Jean for guidance and coaching.
Left to Right. Brees Proctor, Andrew Postma, Jean Gilbert
Jean has been sharing food with hungry families since the 1960’s. In the early days she transported donations from Johnston to Central Presbyterian Church who then distributed the food to pantries across the metro. She was among the volunteers who helped at Crown Point when the Johnston food pantry started, then at St Paul Presbyterian Church, then the house where the fire station now stands and finally to our current location. She used to run the front desk but retired from that job when the records were moved to the computer.
Jean and her husband Jim, a retired DM Register printer and part-time carpenter moved to Johnston early in their marriage and raised their 2 daughters here. Now Jean enjoys the choir and bell choir at St Paul’s. She is also very dedicated to the birds and squirrels she feeds in her back yard and to the deer who follow her around the yard.
Jean is amazed at the number of people who come to the pantry. She says “The economy has gotten worse… They (our regulars) do work, they just don’t make enough to feed their families, pay rent, etc. We just seem to get busier and busier and we need more space. Thank you Jean for your continued dedication to serving those in need.