The Pantry which fed more than 33,400 people in 2019 usually has a staff of about 100 volunteers. Those numbers were reduced to a volunteer force in the single digits after COVID-19 came to the Midwest this spring.
“A lot of our volunteers are older and high risk,” Board president Linda Schroeder said. “We also have people from Sunnyhill and First Step, (agencies for the care of people with disabilities). Once COVID hit they had to be shut in.”
More volunteers still can’t help however, if there is no food to serve, Linda said.
“We can buy food for 10 cents a pound from the (St. Louis Area) Food Bank. The Food Bank has always been wonderful to us. This year we already purchased 90,000 pounds of food. But now, there’s no food available. They say we will not see any emergency boxes until June.”
There also is less food available at the grocery stores.
“Because of COVID, everyone was buying all the food off the shelves so there is less food available,” Linda said.
"The Postal Carriers also canceled their food drive this year. That is 16,000 cans to us,” Linda said.
Fortunately, the community is coming forward to assist the pantry.
The Peace Pantry accepts donations of food and other items Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. or by calling 636-285-0934 to make an appointment.
“We prefer to have food, but if you prefer to make a monetary donation, it can be mailed to Peace Pantry, P.O. Box 32, Cedar Hill, MO 63026,” Linda said.
The Byrnes Mill Police Department has started a food drive. For more information call 636-677-7727.
The Big River Ambulance District has containers for donations of non-perishable food items at each of their ambulance houses –House 1, at 6321 Lorens Lane in Cedar Hill, House 2, at 4795 Tishomingo Road, Hillsboro, and House 3, 6969 Wild Cherry Lane, House Springs.
The Pantry has also heard from a variety of churches including Spring Hills Presbyterian Church in Byrnes Mill and Our Lady Queen of Peace and Soul Harvest Church, both in House Springs.
Foods needed include: jelly, peanut butter, canned tuna, canned chicken, box meals, hamburger helper, cooking supplies, condiments (catchup mustard salt pepper), cake mixes, flour, sugar, coffee, salad dressings.
The pantry needs able-bodied people to help unload food and stock shelves. Laura Massey Manansala has volunteered to coordinate volunteers. She has opened a Facebook page called Peace Pantry Volunteers and those willing to give their time to help can give her their information at that site.
Linda said she appreciates all the support the pantry has received and community leaders have met and plan to continue meeting to work out solutions to keep the pantry feeding hungry people.