By Catherine Twing, Contributing Writer
Southborough – When Barbara Jandrue retired early from her job as a calibration technician more than 20 years ago, she started looking for something to occupy her time. She found that something at the Southborough Food Pantry.
On April 7, Jandrue was honored at the Rotary Club of Southborough’s annual Celebrating Service, Celebrating Southborough event for her decades of dedication to the food pantry and the people of Southborough.
Now the director of the food pantry housed at Pilgrim Congregational Church, her duties include scheduling, shopping, organizing, picking up donations, talking with clients and a bit of everything.
Jandrue said receiving this honor is “amazing and embarrassing.”
“You just want to go out and do your thing,” she said. “I was really surprised. It really is an honor.”
She was quick to mention the other volunteers who work at the pantry.
“I share this award with all of the volunteers, including my husband, Bob,” she said.
She also mentioned coordinators Karen White, Marjorie Coldwell, Pat Draper and Herb Kolk.
The food pantry is run by the United Parishes of Southborough and volunteers from each church staff the pantry.
Jandrue’s family did not have a lot, which has added to her passion for helping others.
“We grew up kind of poor, so we had food, but we didn’t have much else,” she said. “So I love to be able to help.”
Through the years she has met many different families each in unique situations.
“All the clients are very nice; they all have a different story. Medicines cost a lot of money, babies cost a lot of money – people sometimes just don’t make enough to pay for everything so this helps them,” she said.
Rotary Club Secretary Carl Guyer considers Jandrue and her team of volunteers “model citizens” who practice “selfless giving to the community, making the town a better place to live, really helping people in need.”
Karen Fournier, a recipient of the honor last year, described Jandrue the same way – “kind, selfless and genuinely concerned for the people she serves.”
Ask anyone who knows her and you’ll hear it over and over.
“Barbara is a remarkable person, incredibly generous,” said Father James Flynn, pastor of St. Matthews Parish where Jandrue has been a member for over 40 years. “Tremendously generous.”
Father Flynn said that in addition to the food pantry, Jandrue brings flowers every Saturday from St. Matthews to local nursing homes to brighten the residents’ days.
Jandrue’s daughter and Southborough resident Michelle Horan described her mother as the cornerstone of their family during challenging times – “caring, loving, strong.”
Horan added that she is that neighbor you know you can turn to in time of need, a mom to everyone in town and flat out “the greatest mother ever.”
Also honored at the event was Chris Robbins, long-time rotary club member and Army veteran who currently serves on the board of Alliance Health and Human Services and the Southborough Economic Development Committee.