Four days a week like clockwork, Peggy Abernathy rose before 6 a.m. got on a city bus or in a cab and headed toward downtown Tyler where she managed the King's Storehouse Food Bank.

It didn't matter that Ms. Abernathy was legally blind, that her health was failing and that she didn't get paid for her work.

As a volunteer, she was dedicated to sharing God's love through the food bank and she was going to be there.

"She said you couldn't pay her to (do it)," said her granddaughter and a food bank board member Amanda Zorbanos, of Plano.

The King's Storehouse Food Bank honored the late Ms. Abernathy and her legacy of love and work with the dedication of The Peggy Abernathy Annex on Friday.

The annex, 503 E. Oakwood St., provides more space for storage of nonperishable food items, work space for sorting items and a store where people can buy food and household items at discounted prices.

"Today we celebrate the fact that the King's Storehouse continues to operate despite Peggy's absence …," said Doug Anderson, pastor of Rose Heights Church of God, where Ms. Abernathy attended. "This vision, this ministry will continue."

Started by eight people 30 years ago, the King's Storehouse Food Bank is a nondenominational Christian organization that distributes food to nonprofit organizations that feed people in need.

More than 100 nonprofits in 18 East Texas counties purchase food from the organization at 14 cents per pound.

Since its inception, the food bank has provided more than 13.5 million pounds of food to nonprofit organizations.

Lynne Breedlove Sperry, a board member and daughter of two of the food bank's founders, said the difference between this food bank and others is its Christian foundation.

Although it provides food to faith-based and secular nonprofits, its mission in this work is "to show God's love through His Son," she said.

This mission affects the organization's food sources. The food bank does not receive food from government or commodities programs because of the regulations that come with that.

For example, if a local nonprofit wants to require food recipients to listen to a sermon before they receive food, it cannot do that if it receives government funded food. Therefore, the King's Storehouse wouldn't be able to provide food to that nonprofit.

Government regulations also can affect posted signs, food distribution and income assessments, according to information provided by the food bank.

The King's Storehouse wants its nonprofit recipients whether faith-based or not to be free to run their programs as they see fit. That means not receiving food from government commodities or other programs.

The nonprofit buys about 70 percent of its food and receives the rest in donations primarily from local businesses.

In addition to a different mission, the King's Storehouse has no paid administrative personnel. All paid employees - there are eight - bag, load or order food. The administrative work is completed for free by volunteers and board members.

Ms. Abernathy, who died in February, managed the food bank for more than 20 years as a volunteer. She typically worked six hours a day four days a week.

Her grandson, Bryan Campbell, of Tyler, who is vice president of the food bank's board, grew up helping there during the summers. He said the experience taught him that the world does not revolve around him.

"You just learn that there's so much in the community that you don't see," he said. "I feel lucky that my grandma had a real heart for the needy of East Texas."

Ms. Zorbanos said her grandmother worked the first half of her life so she could give of herself and her time in the second half.

"For such a small lady, we've got big shoes to fill," she said.

Twitter: @TMTEmily


The King's Storehouse Food Bank needs




-Food distributors

-Someone with experience installing and setting up phones and computers

Information: 903-595-5097


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