What does a local hero look like? In this case, she is a diminutive 88-year-old with a big heart. Today Lucile Spurlock was named the newest Hometown Hero by Menlo Park City Council member Ray Mueller.

Lucile is a regular driver for “Trinity Tuesdays, Season of Gleaning.” On Tuesday mornings from 8:00 to noon, community members drop off pantry food and fresh produce in the parking lot of Trinity Church, Menlo Park. Most weeks, Lucile loads dozens of bags and boxes of food into her car and drives them to The Food Closet in Palo Alto.

For those who are unfamiliar, gleaning is an ancient Biblical practice where farmers were instructed to leave corners of their fields unharvested … left for the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers to gather and consume. Similarly, olive trees and vines were to have some of their fruit left for the same purpose.

When we admired Lucile’s strength, she revealed that she works with a personal trainer twice a week, does Pilates twice a week and Tai Chi once a week. Her goal is to continue to live in her Menlo Park home of 50 years.

Being strong and active and helpful to others is her way to accomplish this. Lucile has “time on her hands” now during the COVID pandemic, plus she can perform this much-needed driving service while being safe herself. When she drops off the food at the Food Closet, volunteers there help unload the car.

“The volunteers at the Food Closet are most grateful to receive our food,” Lucile says. “This week all the chairs they put out along the curb were full of people eating the food they just picked up. It’s such a simple thing to do, takes practically no time, and is so dreadfully needed. Our gardeners are the real heroes. They donated a huge amount of produce this week — and a bunch of bags of purchased stuff.”

Lucile encourages community members to learn about the gleaning program. To procure fresh fruits and vegetables, Trinity asks folks to “plant an extra row” of produce. The church also sends volunteers to harvest fruit trees in people’s gardens. The specific pantry items needed by Ecumenical Hunger Program (another location where Trinity’s food is delivered) are listed online.

Author Laurie Hunter is long-time Trinity Church parishioner

Photo by Robb Most (c) 2020

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