Food pantry founder fights cancer while fighting to keep people fed

The work starts on Monday, preparing boxes of food to hand out at Manatee Baptist Food Pantry.

Skip Mahoney has worked for more than a decade making sure families are fed. What started with just a dozen or so volunteers has turned into hundreds of free meals for the surrounding community.

"Now the fun starts, we get to give it all away," Skip said, rolling a cart of boxes through the pantry. "We have plenty of food to give away."

But Skip has been forced to slow down. After being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, he's taken a more relaxed role at the food pantry.

"I'd like to say it’s going to take more than this to keep me down, but we will see," he said.

Skip Mahoney

Despite the toll chemotherapy takes on him physically, Skip still shows up to help the pantry, giving time to help those who need a hand up.

Skip has a saying that volunteers recognize.

"One hour, one day a week, don’t judge," he repeated.

Skip doesn't take any credit. He is the motivator, the driving force that keeps the food pantry going.

"It's not me. It’s not. It’s every one of these volunteers here that are the ones that deserve the credit. They work hard, long hours, they don’t ask for anything. They’re dedicated to what they do," he said.

While he can no longer personally hand the food to each person driving through, he's there to support.

"He wants them all to get a box. He’s really dedicated to this," said volunteer Phil MacDonald.

While Skip fights his own battle against cancer, no matter how bad it gets, he has one promise to the community:

"I'll be here 'till I can’t be here anymore."

The Manatee Baptist Food Pantry hands out food Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 a.m.They're located at 1501 7th Ave East Bradenton, Florida 34208. For more information or to donate call 941-238-7464 or visit