Johnstown Independent

Volunteer Citizen of the Year finalist

Helping those in need a constant for Krumm

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Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year finalist Ruth Krumm, of Johnstown, center, chats with Joyce Shenk, left, and Meg Leary, right, following the Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year awards ceremony Nov. 20 at HandsOn Columbus.
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After founding and working at the Johnstown-Northridge Community Food Pantry for more than 40 years, Johnstown resident Ruth Krumm was a finalist for the Direct Energy and ThisWeek Community News Columbus Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award.

Each year, Krumm still organizes and delivers meals for those in need, and is known throughout the community for her work.

This year, the food pantry donated more than 70 Thanksgiving meals to families in need.

Krumm, 91, says her charitable predisposition comes from her time at St. Thomas in Columbus as a child.

"Had it not been for the nuns down there, there would have been kids that didn't have anything to eat or any clothes," she said.

"There was only one factory down there. If they didn't work there, there was very little work to be had, not having a car."

Dick Steyer, who works with Krumm at the food pantry, said she "still pretty much runs it," and that even at 91, she has been as present as ever.

"She believes in helping," Steyer said. "They call her at home and she'll come in from her home in the middle of the winter or whatever.

"If she can make it at all, she'll come in and give them food if they need it."

Steyer also said Krumm is a familiar face in the community, and "everyone pretty much knows her."

Krumm's food pantry has gone through multiple locations and has made a plethora of changes in its long history.

"When I started, my goodness, if we had 10 people for Thanksgiving, it was really big," she said.

But volume hasn't been the only change over the years.

With no refrigerator available because of space restrictions, the pantry now gives gift certificates to the local grocery store for people to buy milk, eggs, meat and other parishables.

With more than 40 years of experience, even Krumm has had her difficult days. But helping people is too important for her to leave.

"There've been times when I thought I wanted to quit, but it's just something that I've had to deal with all my life, seeing people hungry," she said.

"I guess I'm a little bit afraid because I have had a few people tell me that if I ever left, they wouldn't donate like they do now, and that's one thing that kind of keeps me there. But I love it."

Krumm did not win the award, but was honored with two other finalists at a special event Nov. 20.

Although she said recognition is not what drives her to help people, Krumm admitted the accolades are flattering.

"I just can't put it into words," she said of the evening and the recognition.

"Sometimes you get to the point where you wonder if you're doing all you can. But when you get something like that, it kind of is a 'thank you' to me, and kind of makes it a little easier."