When Gloria Scott started working full-time at the Greater Chicago Food Depository in 1985, the organization was only six years old. It distributed 19.3 million pounds of food that year, and had just settled into the 91,000 square foot warehouse at 4501 S. Tripp Avenue.
Thirty-one years later, Gloria will say goodbye to a much larger Food Depository, as she begins her retirement.
“This has been beyond just a job,” she said. “Working at the Food Depository has meant so much to me. I’ve learned so much from my coworkers and from the agencies. We’ve become a family.”
As impressive as her 31-year tenure is, Gloria has actually been with the organization for 34 years. She volunteered in the warehouse sorting food and then as an order checker for three years before being hired to work in inventory control.
“Gloria’s warmth, optimism and unwavering dedication to our mission over the past three decades is incredibly inspiring,” said Kate Maehr, Food Depository executive director and CEO. “She’s made a lasting impact on hunger in our community, and for that we are truly grateful.”
In her current role, Gloria processes agency food orders, responds to agency questions and makes sure agency food pickups run smoothly. She’s always had a passion for helping out.
“Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve always cared for this type of work,” she said. “I just love reaching out in whatever way I can. I always want to be able to help people.”
Her dedication to fighting hunger extends beyond the workplace. In her spare time, she runs a food pantry in the West Garfield Park neighborhood, which she will continue to manage in retirement.
“There’s a greater need now than ever before,” she said. “I see it at my pantry and at work. More and more people are turning to agencies for help.”
Eventually, she’ll be moving to Michigan to be closer to her daughter. But until she does, she’s looking forward to expanding the services of her pantry. She’d like to offer clients exercise tips and teach them how to crochet.
Looking back, Gloria never expected to be in one place so long.
“During those years I was just volunteering at the Food Depository, I never dreamed I’d work here – let alone this long. Now that I’ve been through it, it was definitely worth the stay,” she says, laughing.
And after 31 years, she’s retiring with the same passion she had for the cause in 1985.
“It feels great to be in one job with a mission and to be able to accomplish that every day,” she said. “If I helped even one person, I know my time at the Food Depository was worth it.”