Feeding the hungry has become a community effort in the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano area. A partnership of five churches has been formed to care for needy families in southern Barry County.
"The poverty level in this area is great," said Nancy Wilson, All Faith United Methodist Church (UMC) pastor. "This is my third year at this church. In the time that I have been here, I have watched the poverty level increase."
Wilson cites recent layoffs from area manufacturing companies as one reason for the increasing poverty level.
"The number of jobs available in this area is not great," said Wilson. "Where there are few jobs, there is a higher level of poverty."
All Faith UMC, which is located in Eagle Rock, has hosted a food pantry for several years. Last year, members of the Community Lutheran Church, which is also located in Eagle Rock, donated an assortment of non-perishable food items to All Faith UMC.
Later, the Eagle Rock Community Church, the Roaring River Baptist Church and the Golden Church of God joined the food pantry partnership to help serve the needs of families in the community.
"This summer we were able to serve 12 families," said Wilson. "Some of those families have been served more than one time."
Individuals or families who need assistance can call All Faith UMC or talk with a member of another one of the food pantry partners. Families can utilize the food pantry program once a month if necessary, said Wilson.
"When families use the pantry, we give them a sheet of paper that says who the pastor is for each church," said Wilson. "The paper also has information on each church's services. We want to let them know what churches are available in the community."
Families that utilize the pantry receive non-perishable items and meat products, which the food pantry receives through an organization in Springfield. Some personal hygiene and other items are also available.
"We would like to collect enough funds to be able to give families vouchers for local stores in the area," said Wilson. "With the vouchers, they would be able to get some perishable items like bread and milk."
Individuals or organizations interested in supporting the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Food Pantry may drop non-perishable items off at All Faith UMC, which is located on Highway 86. Monetary donations can be mailed to the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Food Pantry, HCR 1 Box 1016 Eagle Rock, Mo., 65641.
"The churches in the partnership decided to try to do something for the people in this area," said Wilson.
"We wanted to do it together and not decide that we would only serve certain people and another church would serve others," Wilson added.
"We are trying to do what Jesus told us to do and feed the hungry," said Wilson. "It's so exciting to see all of these Christian brothers and sisters working together to help those in need."
For more information on the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Food Pantry program, call 271-3737.