Our Neighbor: Food bank volunteer Karl Shaner




Posted on December 1, 2009 at 9:48 AM

Updated Monday, Feb 1 at 12:43 PM

DALLAS — Karl Shaner is serving up compassion.

He is one of the countless volunteers that the North Texas Food Bank depends on every day to feed families who live on the poverty line.

"Karl is an angel," said Colleen Brinkmann, chief philanthropy officer for the organization.

Shaner, a 74-year-old retired epidemiologist and chef, volunteers three days a week at the community kitchen, where they have only one paid staff member.

Shaner uses his passion for cooking to help prepare 10,000 meals a week for more than 300 agencies who distribute the food to hungry children and adults.

"There shouldn't be anybody out there in Dallas that's hungry with the access to food that they have through the food bank," Shaner said.

The North Texas Food Bank has an ambitious plan to provide those in need with 50 million meals annually by 2011.

"I like to see people eat," Shaner said. "There's an old saying: 'You don't quit working cause you're old... you get old cause you quit working.'"

He especially likes working for the children. This past summer, Shaner helped to prepare boxes of food for the food bank's new summer lunch program, which provides meals for hungry students at designated summer school programs.

"We could not do what we do if we didn't have volunteers like Karl," Brinkmann said.

Shaner and all the volunteers will make 500 pounds of chili mac on Tuesday. He says it's just like cooking it at home — except with a lot more pots.

Karl Shaner has led a full life traveling all over the world. In his retirement, his desire to make a difference remains as strong as ever by being of service to others less fortunate. That's why we name him today's Our Neighbor.

The North Texas Food Bank wants to remind you that they need your help with food and monetary donations, especially this time of year. And if you know someone we could feature in a future report, send me your ideas at the e-mail address below.

E-mail cizzy@wfaa.com