Callie On The Job: Marion Ministerial Alliance - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Callie On The Job: Marion Ministerial Alliance

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MARION -- When you think of jobs you usually think of ones that pay monetarily. Callie learns more about a job that provides a different kind of reward in this week's Callie on the Job.

This is the time of year we remember to be thankful, and give to others, but for some in our community they give all year long. 

J.R. Russell is the executive director of the Marion Ministerial Alliance. He is one of only two paid full-time employees at the food pantry. A pantry that feeds more than 350 different families each month and a soup kitchen that serves around 90 meals a day.

"My greatest resource, my greatest asset without a doubt is our volunteers because we cannot function without our volunteers," said Russell.

"We just have so many folks in our population that just kind of live on the edge and our goal is to meet families and individuals at moments of crisis in their life and help carry them through to have a better life," he said.

Families who live in the Marion school district that are in need are able to come and receive a box of food once a month, as well as a free lunch Monday through Friday.

"If you were to break an arm you go to a doctor and your arm is fixed and you're fine. Hunger is a different issue. If you're hungry today, chances are you'll be hungry later, you'll be hungry tomorrow. It's an ongoing thing. It's a constant battle for us," Russell said.

Neither the food pantry nor the soup kitchen would be successful without a slew of volunteers who give their time. Churches, clubs and individuals show up daily to help make their mission a reality.

"Hopefully we can offer an avenue not only where folks can get help, but where folks can be part of the solution in helping others too. That's what we try to do," said Russell.

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