Hope Hero Shout-Out

Pam is a typical Catholic Charities volunteer. She cares. She is constantly busy. And she is a problem solver. There is one thing, though, that definitely sets her apart – she can quickly find a great recipe for just about any ingredient.

This particular skill came to light when she began to notice more than a few clients at the Topeka Family Support Center pantry talking about how some of the government-issued commodities were unfamiliar to them, things like garbanzo beans, pistachios, and pork loin. Pam didn’t like the thought of these healthful ingredients going to waste, so her solution was to remove some of the guesswork for clients and provide recipes featuring these nutritious items.

It didn’t take long for Pam to find online a bevy of highly rated recipes featuring garbanzo beans, pistachios, pork loins, split peas, and other items. But how to get the recipes into the hands of curious clients? No problem there either. Pam’s personal brainstorming again hit high gear. She decided that a clear plastic display case, mounted on the wall in a strategic location that clients walked past, would be the location to display full-color images of a finished dish or meal.

This pantry customer service initiative quickly caught on as recipes such as Zesty Garbanzo Beans with Pistachio Nuts, Split Pea Soup, and Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast with Brown Sugar quickly disappeared. Pam and Anna, administrative assistants at the Topeka FSC, now keep copies of five different commodity-based recipes readily available for clients.

We don’t always remember that clients in need of our services are also our customers. That makes top-notch customer service such as that exhibited by Pam an aim for everyone at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.


Recipe for Zesty Garbanzo Beans with Pistachio Nuts

(Four-out-of-five star rating on Allrecipes.com)


  • 2 (15.5 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • ¼ cup corn oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the garbanzo beans together with the oil, sea salt, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Transfer to a shallow casserole dish.

Bake in the preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until garbanzo beans are golden and crisp, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir in pistachios and thyme, and continue baking an additional 10 minutes, or until beans and pistachios are lightly crispy. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving: 563 calories, 17.1g protein, 58.5g carbohydrates, 30.6g fat, 1223.9mg sodium