Volunteers pose outside the Peace Pantry when it was located on Mall Dr.
The Peace Pantry originally operated as the Agape House under the auspices of Bud and Jean Waeltermann who operated a mission for the homeless in Morse Mill. Then, in 1985, a group of parishioners met at Our Lady Queen of Peace (OLQP) and volunteered to assist the Waeltermanns in operating a food pantry to assist all needy persons in the community. Father Joseph Kempf gave financial assistance as a memorial tribute to his father. Clothing and furniture were always a request so the Phoenix Center was opened in 1986 to meet that need.
The Agape House joined the Big River Ministerial Alliance in 1988 and began receiving support from other area churches. In October of 1992, Bud and Jean felt the homeless mission work was completed and closed the Agape House. Volunteers felt there was still a need for a food pantry and clothing resource and moved the pantry to Mall Drive in Cedar Hill. The pantry was incorporated under Our Lady Queen of Peace and named the Peace Pantry.
The building on Mall Drive was small however and barely able to meet the needs of the pantry. Clothing was stored in volunteers' homes and brought in on pantry day and set outside to try and meet clients' needs. Food was assembled in boxes by volunteers and distributed to clients. Volunteers prayed for a different building to better meet the clients' needs. In August of 1997, their prayers were answered.The pantry moved to 6672 Veterans Dr. Volunteers and Scout groups helped with the move and the re-design of the pantry. The pantry was set up like a grocery store so clients could pick out their own food instead of assembling boxes for them. One room at the end of the building was designated for clothing and was named "Ann's Closet" because of Ann Mattingly's commitment to helping people with clothing.
In April of 1998, the Peace Pantry incorporated on its own and became a 501-C 3 tax exempt organization. Evening hours were added in June of 1998. Through the years, the community has taken the pantry to heart and contributed food, clothing, money, labor and time. Since 1998, the pantry was expanded to the whole building, a new roof was added, a parking lot, new freezer, storage shed, awning and much more. The pantry also has increased its service to the community. In 1998 about 40 families were served. In 2011, more than 180 families received services from the Peace Pantry.
Today the Pantry has a new pantry building with a thrift store, a community garden, a walking track and a large garage that doubles as a farmers market from May to October.