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Helping the Hungry

Representatives from the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry met with the committee from the Help the Hungry Bake Sale on Tuesday to receive a special donation.

The occasion was the presentation of the checks – in the amount of $35,000 each – to the pantries through the money raised during the 2017 bake sale. The sale has raised close to half a million dollars since it began in 2006.

Once again, the sale topped the amount raised from the previous year — with $70,000 brought in this year through the sale of baked goods, silent and oral auction, wreath auction, Cookin’ Clergy Contest along with a barbecue held the month before and other donations received. And, once again, the volunteers who see the difference the donation makes in the face of the patrons at each pantry were humbled.

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is a ministry of St. Joseph Catholic Church. This weekend, the pantry is moving into a larger location on Liberty Street near the current facility.

“It’s just incredible — it really is,” said Jennifer Rhodus, president of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. “Especially right now when we’re moving into a new pantry.”

Rhodus said they are trying to keep their supply of food at a minimum to what is needed as a way to avoid moving too much during the transition.

“We need to restock as soon as we get into the new building,” she said, “and this will help tremendously with the restocking.”

Rhodus sees the bake sale as a way the churches and community make a difference.

“The fact that all these people get together and they come together for this one purpose,” she said. “It’s not just one church or three people — it’s absolutely amazing and truly, truly directed by God.

“There’s no way they would be successful if it wasn’t.”

Nancy Faulkner is the director of the Farmington Ministerial Alliance — whose thrift store helps fund the food pantry, along with donations received from the community and events like the Help the Hungry Bake Sale.

The Farmington Lions Club makes a donation of $1,000 to the 2017 Help the Hungry Bake Sale. The club made the presentation in response to a call from Lions International President Dr. Naresh Aggarwal. Pictured are Lions Toby Abernathy, Club President Lisa Sumpter, Chris Landrum with the Help the Hungry Bake Sale, Club Vice President Marshall James, and Keith Castleberry. 

The Farmington Lions Club makes a donation of $1,000 to the 2017 Help the Hungry Bake Sale. The club made the presentation in response to a call from Lions International President Dr. Naresh Aggarwal. Pictured are Lions Toby Abernathy, Club President Lisa Sumpter, Chris Landrum with the Help the Hungry Bake Sale, Club Vice President Marshall James, and Keith Castleberry. 

Faulkner looked at the $35,000 check with tears in her eyes, noting what this means to the ministry provided through the food pantry.

“This is just huge,” she said. “We get this at a time when our budget is … to the max. This gets us through the rest of our fiscal year, this money right here.”

The holidays brings a number of food drive donations at the pantry. But, Faulkner said, there are still a number of food items left to buy — such as perishable items and other necessities.

“This really comes at a good time for us — gets us through the rest of the year,” she said. “I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t get it. And, the fact we are getting $35,000 is … wow.

“And … that it grows every year is just amazing to me.”

Help the Hungry Committee Chairperson Chris Landrum offered up a prayer following the check presentation, asking that — through the food provided from the donation — an individual or family could help make a difference in the world.

Help the Hungry Bake Sale is a time to visit with friends while helping the community.

Help the Hungry Bake Sale is a time to visit with friends while helping the community.

Landrum said she’s “overwhelmed” each year from the amount raised through the bake sale and related events.

“We never think we can make more money than we did the year before,” she said, “but, somehow, between God and this community and my committee, we’re making more money.

“It’s still humbling and it brought tears to my eyes to be able to give this money to these food pantries today.”

She said the $35,000 given to each of the pantries will “go a long way” to provide food for the ministries of the two pantries. Landrum also sees the ministry of the food pantries having a long lasting outreach beyond providing a meal.

“We always talk about … maybe there is a child getting fed that is going to do great things one day,” Landrum said.

She said it’s been a dream of the committee for other communities to begin a program like Help the Hungry. And, it seems that is a dream come true.

A committee of volunteers in Fredericktown began “Feed the Families” in 2013.

In March, Feed My Sheep — spearheaded by Jack and Elizabeth Poston — takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24 at the Desloge First Baptist Church Family Ministry Center. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Bismarck Church of God Food Pantry, Bonne Terre/St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, Elvins Food Pantry, House of Praise Food Pantry and the Immaculate Conception/St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry.

“We’re thrilled that Fredericktown and now the Postons for the Bonne Terre/Desloge/Park Hills area are both going to do these bake sales,” she said. “We’re very thrilled and we’re going to help them in any way we can.

“Our goal is to feed people — people need fed everywhere.”

The Help the Hungry Committee presents checks in the amount of $35,000 each to representatives from the St. Vincent de Paul and Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantries on Tuesday. Jennifer Rhodus with St. Vincent de Paul, second from left, accepts a check from Judy Alig while Nancy Faulkner with the Farmington Ministerial Alliance, third from right, accepts a check from Mary Lee Faircloth. Also attending are (from left) Cathy Holmes, Helen Thurman, Linda Ragsdale, Becky Panchot, Ardie Henson (in front), Cindy Danieley (holding Grace Gabel), Ashley Grindstaff (holding Molly Grindstaff), Joan Sullivan, Denise Gallagher and Chris Landrum.

The Help the Hungry Committee presents checks in the amount of $35,000 each to representatives from the St. Vincent de Paul and Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantries on Tuesday. Jennifer Rhodus with St. Vincent de Paul, second from left, accepts a check from Judy Alig while Nancy Faulkner with the Farmington Ministerial Alliance, third from right, accepts a check from Mary Lee Faircloth. Also attending are (from left) Cathy Holmes, Helen Thurman, Linda Ragsdale, Becky Panchot, Ardie Henson (in front), Cindy Danieley (holding Grace Gabel), Ashley Grindstaff (holding Molly Grindstaff), Joan Sullivan, Denise Gallagher and Chris Landrum.

Shawnna Robinson is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3628 or srobinson@farmingtonpressonline.com

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