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After being convinced to join, Conny Parham is The Pantry’s Volunteer of the Year

Conny Parham was surprised when she found out she was named The Pantry’s Volunteer of the Year, especially since she needed some convincing to join.

After all, she has been lending her hand to a multitude of other organizations around the greater Oxford and Lafayette County area.

Parham also volunteers with the 9 Lives Cat Rescue, Memory Makers, Doors of Hope and the Oxford Shelter, along with being the Director of Screening for The Pantry.

The Director of Screening screens potential clients for The Pantry, as well as makes sure The Pantry’s schedule is covered with other screeners for the Wednesdays and Thursdays it opens its doors.

“I don’t really think I do that much compared to what other people do,” Parham said. “But I do enjoy it.”

Parham was a registrar with University of Mississippi’s Law School for 35 years, and loved what she did. But, she found another affinity in volunteering, because she didn’t want to spend her retirement sitting.

“I love being retired so that I can do what I want to do,” Parham said. “I didn’t have time to do many things when I was working.”

Parham loves working with animals, which she gets to do with 9 Lives and the Oxford Shelter, but The Pantry allows her to address more alarming issues that are affecting the county.

“There’s a lot of unseen poverty in Lafayette County,” Parham said. “People don’t like to admit it or talk about it, but it’s out there. I don’t know what you can do that would be better for people, than to give hungry people food.”

When The Pantry looks for a Volunteer of the Year, the organization’s board gets together and makes different recommendations. They base these recommendations on a person’s compassion, heart and time.

When the board finishing making those recommendations, they get together and vote.

John Kohne, who oversees all food donations to The Pantry, says Parham’s activity overshadowed other recommendations.

“We identify people with that soul service,” Kohne said. “She is a giving person.”

Kohne said one of the best traits an outstanding volunteer can have is the ability to show up and be dependable.

Parham has one child that lives in Houston, and doesn’t have any other family that lives in Oxford. This allows her to dedicate most of her time to volunteer work.

“But there’s a lot of time in the day,” Parham said. “I don’t want to just sit.”