Twenty years ago this month, on December 10, 2001, Reverend Titus Scholl passed away in Freemont, Nebraska. In remembrance of his impact on hunger in New Mexico, the Storehouse wanted to pause to recognize and celebrate his work and his life. They played a role in starting the Roadrunner Food Bank, a key part of fighting hunger in New Mexico. Most importantly to our nonprofit and our clients, Titus and Charlotte Scholl were the Storehouse founders.
Before They Were the Storehouse Founders
In the 1960s, Titus Scholl was a pastor at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Albuquerque. In 1969, Titus and Charlotte left St. Timothy’s to serve the poor more directly. First, the Scholl couple became social workers for the State of New Mexico Health and Social Services Department. In that role, they called second-hand stores and local churches to collect clothes, furniture, appliances, and food. Later, Rev. Scholl became the Director of the Emergency Food Program of the Community Action Program. In that work, he served six Sandoval County Indian Pueblos.
Prior to her marriage, Charlotte Scholl earned a zoology degree from Columbia University and taught science in Flushing, N.Y., supporting the education of children. Charlotte married Rev. Titus R. Scholl in 1941. The family moved to Albuquerque in 1956 where they served both the St. Timothy Lutheran Church and the St. Paul Lutheran Church. Charlotte also was a caseworker for the State of New Mexico Health and Human Services Department. She specialized in adoptions – a position she really enjoyed. That was the position Charlotte held while Titus was laying the groundwork for the Storehouse.
Finally, on the home front, the Scholl family devoted space on their porch and inside their house to help others. They even modified their garage to add of shelves for foods such as rice, flour, beans, and sugar. Reverend Titus and Charlotte were becoming known in Albuquerque for distributing food. Even visiting poor neighborhoods and handing out food from the trunk of their car. This was the beginning of the Scholls work supporting the poor and hungry.
The Storehouse Becomes Official
The Scholls had begun passing out free food and encouraging others to get involved. The exact timeline isn’t known. However, we do know how the Storehouse got its name. It’s from a Bible verse. Malachi 3 says, “bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.”
In January 1970, the Storehouse became incorporated as a nonprofit organization. For many years, the food pantry operated out of loaned building space. The first was the old Butler Building at 1401 William Street NE. It was a site chosen well as it was across from the old welfare office, as the government support was known then. At one time the Scholl family and their supporters operated the Storehouse using space in the original Albuquerque High School. That was at Broadway and Central in downtown Albuquerque, just down the street from our current site. It wasn’t until June 26, 1978 that the Storehouse would open its doors at 106 Broadway Boulevard SE. Of course, that’s where the food pantry is now. Their legacy and work lives on 43 years later.
In 1978, Reverend Scholl attended the first food bank conference, where he learned of a growing movement to rescue discarded food from grocery stores and other providers and distribute that food to the hungry through a network of agencies. He was also one of the founders of Roadrunner Food Bank, bringing that concept to New Mexico.
The Faith Community Helped from the Founding
Titus Scholl was ordained in 1938 into the (now) Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and worked for years as a pastor. In addition, the initial funding for the Storehouse came from the Lutheran Church of America and the New Mexico Inter-Church Agency. Furthermore, the initial Storehouse board was made up of the seven denominations of the New Mexico Inter-Church Agency. The board at the time included a cross-section of faiths — Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Lutheran, Catholic, United Church of Christ, Methodist, and Episcopal. Local churches and faith communities continue to support the Storehouse, including the recent match provided by St Timothy’s to fund baby formula, diapers, and baby food on Giving Tuesday.
Each Person Can Make a Difference
Titus and Charlotte Scholl, the Storehouse founders, were not wealthy or well known. They were just two people who cared deeply about people and set out on a mission to help the poor and feed the hungry. As the Storehouse founders they set a great example of feeding local families in need. It’s also a great reminder that each of us can make a difference to help others. Who knows how much of a difference each of us can make.
Learn more about the Scholls work founding Roadrunner Food Bank