Crossing guard Vicki Zimmerman started the pantry outside her home before covid
TEMPLETON — Over three years ago, Templeton crossing guard Vicki Zimmerman saw that food pantries were popping up throughout the county and people were putting them on their property. So, she decided to contribute her own pantry to the community. Recently, Zimmerman’s pantry, located at 806 Old County Road, right across the street from Templeton Elementary School, was renovated.
“Our original pantry was made for us by the Arroyo Grande Kiwanis Club. And they brought it up to me, and we used it. The whole community fills it. It’s not just me. We have a wonderful community that loves us, and all I need to do is post on the Templeton Proud [Facebook] page that the pantry’s a little hungry, and it gets filled,” said Zimmerman.
Rebecca Wild and her family, also from Templeton, decided that they wanted to update Zimmerman’s pantry and went and got a metal storage cabinet. After the addition of two plexiglass windows and painting the cabinet green, they dropped off the new five-shelf pantry.
“It’s wonderful. I had tears in my eyes when they brought it by the night they [The Wilds] donated it. It’s just absolutely awesome, and the fact is that I have so many people, different people, same people; however you want to say it, that come by and feed that pantry,” added Zimmerman. “I have kids on the way to school that grab granola bars out of there. I have them after school; grab a jar of peanut butter and some crackers. Whatever they want, they come and ask me, “Miss Vicki, can I go get these out of the pantry?”
Zimmerman said she always says yes because that’s what the pantry is there for. She wants the students and anyone else who needs it always to be able to have food available to them.
“I have families, single moms with boys that come to the pantry three times a week. Especially during covid, I had people coming to the pantry. I don’t care who comes. I don’t keep track of who they are. I don’t know any of their names 90 percent of the time. The simple fact is that my heart is touched that they know they can come here and get what they need for a meal,” Zimmerman stated.
She added that the pantry is always filled with items that a person can swing by and pick up to make a complete meal for that day. The pantry is always looking for canned meats and fish, pasta and pasta sauce, cans of soup, rice, cereals, and other nonparishables to share with the community.
“My heart says, take care of these people.” And that’s what this community does,” said Zimmerman.
Though Zimmerman has community members who are always stopping by to fill the pantry, she says there are also people who see a need for more food on Templeton Proud and bring things for the first time.
“Even if they only contribute once, that’s one time that somebody else doesn’t have to get something to fill the pantry,” she added.
The community has gotten so involved with the pantry over the years that there is even one benefactor who moved out of state but sends Zimmerman money so she can go purchase things for the pantry herself.
“I want to thank everybody for being a loving community and stuffing the pantry when it needs to be stuffed,” concluded Zimmerman.
Feature Image: Vicki Zimmerman poses beside her newly revamped Templeton Pantry, generously donated by Templeton’s Wild family. Contributed photo