The sun seems a bit less bright today at the Chester County Food Bank as we mourn the passing of one of our early and distinguished pioneers. Elmer Duckinfield lost his brave and quiet battle with cancer on May 6, 2017, surrounded by his beloved family. Our hearts are broken; however, our spirits remain touched (and, dare we say, our lives changed) by a man who was the definition of compassion, enthusiasm and humility with his warm smile, soft-spoken voice and contagious way of inspiring us to become better citizens.
Twenty years ago, Elmer envisioned a need to “glean” local farms of excess produce while it was still on the vine or on the ground, and then to distribute fresh food to those in the local communities who needed it most. He selflessly compiled lists of available volunteers in the area and coordinated volunteer drives to take advantage of gathering the produce surplus. It was no surprise to find Elmer in the fields packing and loading up the goods until nightfall. We shared Elmer’s story of inspiration earlier this year and believe that you, too, will find it hard not to be touched by his love of giving back.
Phoebe Kitson-Davis, director of agency and community partnerships for the Food Bank, conveys, “Elmer held the title of ‘gleaning manager’ (a volunteer position) when he began the gleaning efforts in the county in conjunction with then-Commissioner (now state Senator) Andy Dinniman. This is a tremendous loss for all of us, but Elmer would want us to carry on—to continue to help those in need and work together to make Chester County a great place to live for everyone. He truly believed no one should ever go hungry. We vow to carry on his legacy.”
As part of a loving tribute to Elmer, why not join us with a donation in his honor to the Chester County Food Bank? Let his influential spirit and charitable philosophy live on and continue to make our community a better place. We collectively thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The Chester County Food Bank is the central hunger relief organization serving more than 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations throughout Chester County. We mobilize our community to ensure access to real, healthy food.
Photos: Ed Williams