Craig and Paula Peffley both grew up in Defiance, Ohio. They attended separate schools during grade school, but once they reached High School they met and became sweethearts. Craig played both basketball and football and Paula was a cheerleader. They graduated together in 1968.
Upon Graduation Craig joined the Air Force and went to Vietnam. Upon returning to the states in 1971, he and Paula were united in marriage. From there they moved to Tampa, Fl for the last two years of his military career.
In 1976 Craig was hired at the National Bank of Montpelier and at that time the Peffley’s set up a household locally. Craig worked at that bank from 1976 until 1986 and then went to First Federal for 5 years.
During this time Paula was employed as a hairdresser and they also owned a catering business by the name of “Angels Food Catering” for 5 years.
Craig was called into the ministry in 1990 and is presently the assistant pastor at “The House of Prayer” in Montpelier, Ohio.
They celebrated their 43rd anniversary last October and have two sons, Trevor (Beth) and Austin (Lisa) Peffley. They also have ten grandchildren.
When one meets this couple it doesn’t take long to figure out that they differ very much in their demeanor. Craig is the quiet thinker and Paula is the outspoken, aggressive go-getter. But together they flourish in every way. The love they share for each other is very evident.
The Peffleys attended Souls Harbor Church on the river in 1985 and the Lord gave Paula a vision for a food pantry. So they started with one small shelf in the boiler room.
When Souls Harbor built the new church on route 20A east of town, they did not continue with the pantry, but Paula never lost the vision that God had given her.
In 2002, along with another lady from church, Paula and she started, the “Helping Hands Food Pantry”. They started by walking in faith and found a building, they then scouted for finances and finally opened in July of that year. The original location was at 410 West Washington Street with only three rooms. The building didn’t even have heat but they faithfully did what they had to do on a day to day basis.
In 2007 the pantry was blessed by being given the south side of the old Louden’s building to operate from. The first order of business was to clear out lots of “stuff” from the previous owner. The next step was a remodeling project that took one year to complete with the opening at the current location being in 2008. This is the same building where the “House Of Prayer” holds their services.
Upon entering the facility today, a person is welcomed into a very appealing, comforting environment. Paula’s great talent in interior decorating is evident everywhere you turn.
The atmosphere and ambiance is one that is very relaxing and user friendly.
The facility has conference rooms, storage rooms, freezer and refrigerator rooms, consoling rooms, training rooms and much more.
They not only have food available for needy families, but also offer educational classes on such topics as computers, cooking in a specially designed kitchen, and also training on videos.
Paula says, “I had no idea the ministry would become what it is today.”
An example is in 2013 the pantry distributed to 1263 households and gave out over 31,760 pounds of food and products. And in 2014 these numbers increased substantially.
She continues by stating, “The doors that The Lord has opened for me to go out and speak to churches, organizations and factories, have been amazing. He also has helped me to teach other pantries how we function and to help them get started and operate in the right manner. “THIS IS MY PASSION”
Helping Hands Food Pantries is entering their 12th year and they have 12 volunteers.
And we must not overlook the fact that Craig is very involved in all of this too along with his job at the church. Paula’s official title is Executive Director.
The Peffley’s say the things that have made their marriage strong are being best friends and growing together through the ups and downs that life has to offer. Also communicating together and praying at all times and in all situations. Their Christian walk and faith are at the center of everything they do.
Craig says that after receiving Christ as his savior in 1984 he felt the need to press in more and help people more than he ever had before and it totally changed his life. Some great influences on his life were his Grandfather and several of his coaches.
Paula says that two great influences on her life were her mother and Marleen Garber, who was an “Oak Tree” to her in ministry.
Two mentors in Craig’s spiritual walk were Jan and Marleen Garber and Don and Gaylynn Harris. In his personal life they were Kim and Janis Repp.
Paula stated that she followed in her mother’s footsteps with a career in hairdressing. Her mother was in the business for 49 years and Paula has now been doing it for 40 years.
Professionally Paula was mentored by Tina Greenfield in Ft. Wayne Indiana and she taught Paula a lot about the business.
In her Christian walk it was also Jan and Marleen Garber and Don and Gaylynn Harris who were very influential and helpful in mentoring Paula.
Craig and Paula both received many awards for sports and cheerleading achievements while in school. And the Helping Hands Food Pantry received the “Agency of the Year Award” from the Toledo Northwest Food Bank in 2008.
Paula’s hobbies are collecting Pepsi items, scrapbooking and she loves crafts.
Greg loves gardening, woodworking, and raising chickens. In the near future he would like to start a beehive colony for producing honey.
On social issues the Peffley’s are very strong pro-lifers. Paula spent several years working at the Community Pregnancy Center as a councilor.
Craig’s favorite book is The Readers Digest and he remembers as a child reading his grandfather’s on a regular basis. Paula likes a wide assortment of cook books and magazines. They both put the Bible at the top of their list.
Paula’s favorite music is The Sound of Music and The Chick Flick’s movie sound tracks while Greg’s favorite movie is Bridge Over the River Kwai and he also likes western movies.
When it comes to food Craig’s preference is burgers and ribs while Paula likes Chinese and Mexican.
Two of the most memorable vacations they have taken were on their 40th wedding anniversary they went to the state of Maine via traveling through New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. And another time they went to Florida to visit old military friends from 42 years ago.
One thing folks may not know about Craig and Paula is that they have been able to work together for 43 years in self employment, public service, etc. as a team and have, at all times, been able to strengthen each other and work together to attain the final outcome in a very successful manner.
As many of you know this is a special couple and Montpelier, Ohio and Williams County is very fortunate to have them as part of their community.
What an amazing story of two folks who really do love what they are doing and the folks that they come into contact with every day.
John may be reached at