Former probation officer now has a passion to give hope to those who feel hopeless

Chuck Williams is at MANNA FoodBank every day, making sure Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry has the best food available in its pantry. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Our Person of the Week points to his previous career as the reason he's so devoted to helping those who are struggling.

"I feel a calling to this job," says Chuck Williams, who's technically retired.

These days, he works overtime at Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry to make an impact.

"There's such a need here in this portion of East Buncombe County," says Williams, who's the volunteer supervisor who oversees the food pantry.

The pantry feeds some 800 people a month and is a key source of meals for 5,000 families.

"Oh, this is nice. Nice chicken today," says volunteer Maggie Schlubach, who says Chuck keeps that pantry stocked. "He makes sure that we don't have empty shelves."

"We picked up about 7,500 pounds of food from Black Mountain, Swannanoa and Montreat post offices," Chuck pointed out recently.

You could say he's in the soul food business, because every bite can rejuvenate folks who are struggling.

"They feel like there's some hope," he says. "And we're about hope. We feel like, if we can offer this small reward for their lives, it'll make them feel better about themselves. "

Along with food, he helps coordinate other services offered by the ministry from job placement to financial assistance.

Chuck volunteered about 35 hours a week for his first seven years and is now paid as a part-time employee.

"He spends a lot of hours that nobody sees," says assistant director Pam Malchow.

Chuck's still donating hours by working whenever he's needed, whether he's paid or not.

"A volunteer extraordinaire," Malchow says.

"Nice man, but he's also hard working," says Schlubach. "He's here til all hours."

Every day, you'll find him at MANNA FoodBank. He does his best to insure that his ministry has the best food possible.

"He's a person of excellence in detail," Malchow says. "And his passion is this ministry."

He spent 34 years as a federal probation officer, which shaped his perspective of the need for help and hope.

"We're trying to bless the whole soul of these people," says Chuck, who puts his heart into a cause he believes in.

"It's very important for feeding people in our valley," he says.

Because making people feel whole again, gives him pride.

"Feel good at the end of each day," he says.

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