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Elderly couple continues work with Gainesville food bank despite obstacles


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Anne and Jim Voyles have seen their fair share of hardships. But still, they insist on giving back — through the Bread of the Mighty food bank.

They started working at the food bank after they ran an appliance and electronic business for about 50 years.

“We know that we have been given beautifully throughout our lives,” Anne said, “but you’ve got to give back. You can’t just take from life and expect to be satisfied.”

The couple joined Bread of the Mighty at one of its lowest points: bankruptcy. With just one truck, and a little amount of food, they were able to restore it to a presence in the community. The food bank now gives back about five million pounds of food each year.

They didn’t expect to still be a part of the food bank’s executive board when they began volunteering there, but “12 years later, here we are.”

Jim and Anne have stepped down, however, and Marcia Conwell has taken over – again, at just the right time.

Jim, also known as “Papa,” was diagnosed 10 years ago with a disease that takes his vision away: macular degeneration.

“He has made the best of it,” Anne said, “and that’s just Jim.”

Anne was diagnosed with the same disease five years later. They are both legally blind.

Conwell is grateful for what the Voyles’ have done for the community; it gives her “cold chills” to think about all they have done and how many they have helped.

Anne described why they try to do so much good as simply as she could.

“What’s the scripture about? It’s better to give than to receive.”

Sami Main and Hana Engroff wrote this story for online.

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