Christine Hein is a busy woman. As the executive director of People’s Place, an independent nonprofit food pantry and thrift store in Kingston, she organizes 15 programs that are run by more than 90 volunteers.
“I love my job. When you realize you really can help someone and make a difference in some peoples’ lives—even if we only make it better for 15 minutes—that’s still 15 minutes better than it would have been without us,” Christine says.
The organization has a long history; the Mount Saint Alphonsus priests started it in 1972 as a mission on Abeel Street. After several moves, the organization landed at its current location on Saint James Street in 2006. Daily operations require between 15 and 20 volunteers just to sort food and donated goods. Christine explains that the food pantry has had about a 21-percent increase in use over the past year.
“This is an enormous increase from four years ago,” she says. “If we continue at the rate we’ve been seeing over the past year, it will equate to more than 300,000 meals in 2016—That doesn’t include the produce we give away every week at the farm stand.”