Tom Shelton, owner of Pantry and More, gets choked up when he talks about how the 17th anniversary of his food pantry on Tuesday coincides with Tarleton's Service Day.

“Lady I’m crazy and I get choked up," Shelton said. "It was his idea to come on the sixth of April not even knowing that was my anniversary date. Now tell me that our Lord doesn’t have a lot to do with it. I get so choked up because I’m so grateful.”

Brian Martinson, assistant professor for Tarleton’s business department, organized students for Service Day to help the non-profit organization.

Martinson said he has about 15-20 students going to help clean up, recycle, organize and do some heavy lifting for Shelton.

“We’re going to be helping him do some cleaning, hauling some rubbish, straightening some things out, taking some recyclables in and folding some clothes that I think he’s preparing to ship to Africa,” Martinson said.

Martinson is also the president of the local society of human resources called Cross Timbers Society for Human Resource Management and he connected with Shelton back in December.

“At our December meeting we invited Tom from Pantry and More to be our guest at our meeting. And we do this every Christmas, we make a donation to a nonprofit or area public service organization and we picked him because one of the members heard about the work he is doing,” Martinson said. “He’s just a wonderful guy and his mission is wonderful." 

Shelton said the pantry’s mission is to feed people - physically and spiritually.

Guests receive a Bible, barbed wire cross and a crocheted cross with a poem titled, “Cross in my Pocket.”

Pantry and More isn’t a typical food bank because guests don’t need any qualifications to receive help.

“Here, you get a Big Lots grocery cart and you go pick your own food and I’ll see you when you get out," Shelton said. "I don’t tell you what you can have but I do control the amount.”

Martinson reflects on the importance of Service Day.

“The whole Service Day idea gives us a chance to actually get out of the classroom and go into the community to do stuff and it’s always a learning experience," Martinson said. "It doesn’t matter what area you’re in, you know, for us it's human resource management primarily with the students and with the idea of helping and contributing. Giving students this experience as part of their education and contributing to society makes the place a little better.”