Making a Difference: Xenia Fish Food Pantry volunteer puts a smile on community’s faces

XENIA — This is one of those cases where News Center 7′s James Brown was working on one story, and he stumbled across another.

Charles Kennedy is from Beavercreek, but goes to Xenia a few times a week, and we found him “Making a Difference” helping others. He said he is a part-time parking lot guide, and full-time volunteer with a smile you can’t miss.

At the Xenia Fish food Pantry, Charles is usually one of the first volunteers to arrive and the last to leave. He helps guide people into the parking lot and point them in the right direction so they can pick up their free food.

Charles’ parents taught him early in life, “at some point, you have to give back.” And that philosophy really kicked in for Charles after he retired from Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

He wanted to help others, and put smiles on their faces.

Charles said he has been “blessed with great mentors and a good life.” At the food pantry, he wants to help others who are struggling. “I just feel blessed... I just want to make sure everybody’s safe.”

Gail Matson, the pantry’s president said, “I wish I could bottle his enthusiasm , his kindness. His optimism.”

With people struggling right now and embarrassed to have to rely on the food pantry every week, Matson said Charles cheerfulness means so much to them and, “when they see a smiling face, when they hear a kind voice it makes it all ok.”

While News Center 7′s James Brown talked with Charles, James noticed time and time again how he tried to deflect the attention from himself and give all the credit to other pantry volunteers.

“There are some very enthusiastic and energetic people who work here,” and Charles believed they were the ones “Making a Difference.”

James said, “it took me all of about 10 seconds of watching Charles helping others to realize I just had to share his “Making a Difference” story with the Miami Valley.