ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — After nearly two decades of work as long-time Rock River Valley Pantry Executive Director, Kim Adams-Bakke is retiring. There was a celebration at the pantry Friday in her honor.

Adams-Bakke reflected on her passion for the work, “You walk out of here every night knowing you made a difference. How many people can go to work and say that?”

Years of making those less fortunate feel heard, aiding families in need, and leading the community in the fight against hunger, Kim devoted many years of her life to the City of Rockford and the Stateline.

“The people that come into our facility and need help probably never thought they would have to cross our threshold. No one wants to come to a pantry because they neither feed themselves or they need to feed their family. So being able to do this again because of the support of the donors and the community, it makes this job so easy,” said Adams-Bakke.

Kim was there for the transition of facilities and oversaw major improvements as well as innovation to how the food pantry works. This is all in an effort to better the community and help those in need.

“We’ve heard some horrible stories. We’ve heard some tearful stories. We’ve heard some stories where people were like, I’m here because you help me and I’m here today to give back,” Adams-Bakke went on to say, “No two days are alike and you walk away knowing you surround yourself with good people who are going to make a difference in this community. And I’m really I’m very fortunate.”

It was a packed house at the pantry, the festivities were held in the conference room which is now called the Kim Adam’s Bakke Conference Room. She says retirement from the pantry gives mixed emotions.

It’s a bittersweet feeling because I’ve absolutely loved what I do and love the people that I worked with. And we’re passionate about our mission and being able to help the community. But I’m also looking forward to kind of picking my own agenda and helping somewhere in the community as well.”

If interested in donating or volunteering you can visit the Pantry’s website.