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Food pantry desperately needs supplies

Farmington Press

The shelves are within a month of being empty at the Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry.

“Where we are at now (in available food) is where we were five weeks later than this time last year,” said Director of Benevolence Paul Odenthal. “If we don’t have any donations coming in soon, we will be out of food in 30 days.”

In a recent newsletter of the St. Francois County Community Partnership, Odenthal stated donations of canned goods, boxed items, rice, beans, canned juice, or canned meat could be of a tremendous help to the pantry.

The Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry serves around 220-250 families each month, an increase of around 30 percent from past years. Each family is given from 40 to 70 pounds of food each month. Earlier this week, the volunteers at the pantry placed the last of their reserve supply of food from past donation drives out on the shelves. In addition, the money the pantry receives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was a smaller amount than in the past, and it has already been spent.

“We use the FEMA money to buy cereal, jelly, ‘helper’ dinners, and eggs. We have already spent that available money and we are on our last few bags and boxes of cereal,” said Odenthal. “We are totally out of canned tuna fish.”

In addition, two freezers normally stocked full of items are completely empty.

The pantry depends on food and monetary donations to supply much needed food for their clients. Proceeds from the sale of merchandise at the Thrift Store in The Factory also go towards the food pantry.

“The food pantry relies on the money from the Thrift Store and private donations from individuals, businesses, churches, and clubs to donate,” said Odenthal.

He shared this is the first time since he has been on board at the Ministerial Alliance he has needed to purchase canned goods such as green beans and corn.

Once a month, the pantry receives a shipment of food from the St. Louis Area Food Bank. Due to the number of families served, that shipment will last for just a little over a week.

Odenthal expressed he will be talking to area schools about the possibility of hosting food drives. He also noted how a drive asking church members or employees to donate one certain item for the pantry can be a tremendous help.

“Because of one local church donating more than 2000 cans of soup, we have enough soup to last us through December. If organizations want to participate in doing a drive such as this, it can help immensely,” he said.

Odenthal stresses the need is immediate for donations and urges anyone wishing to donate, either monetarily or with food items, may do so by dropping donations off at the Thrift Store in The Factory; at the Food Pantry-located at 1102 Ste. Genevieve Avenue during the hours of 9 a.m. until noon on Monday, Wednesday and Friday; or by mail to the Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry at P.O. Box 91 in Farmington. A drop-off box is also located at the Save-A-Lot store in Farmington.

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