New food pantry opens for Seligman residents

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chamber secretary: ‘You don’t have to be low income’

Created through a joint effort of donors and volunteers, the city of Seligman now has its own food pantry to help residents stretch their dollars a little further.

According to Carol (Pendergrast) Frost, a donor who preferred to remain anonymous offered to provide $1,000 per month to purchase and make food items available to Seligman residents if she and others would manage a pantry.

“We had an anonymous donor that wanted to do something for the city, and knew we had to close the senior center due to a lack of funds last December, and they said they would give a $1,000 a month for food if we’d get it started,” Frost said, who served as past president of the former senior center, is retired and has experience ordering food and working with menus. “They asked if I’d do the ordering if they provided the money, so I order all the food items a week ahead of time from a grocer.”

The city’s former senior center had a luncheon twice a month for only $3, which provided an inexpensive meal, but the center closed.

“The participation just got down and it wasn’t paying for the food they were purchasing, and they lost their commodities from the state,” said Cleta Stanley, Seligman Chamber of Commerce secretary. “We really hated [to see that happen] because it helped several people. So I’m glad volunteers got the pantry going.”

There are no pay stubs required and no forms to complete — all that’s required is proof of residency in the city.

“All they have to have is something showing a Seligman address, like an electric bill or driver’s license,” Frost said. “We’ve had some come from Washburn and Cassville, but there’s only enough for local residents.”

The food, which consists of a bag or two filled with close to 20 different food items, may be picked up on the fourth Thursday of each month at the building next to City Hall from 2-6 p.m.

“We give them flour, sugar, potatoes, bread, chicken and noodle soup, Ramen noodles, hot dogs, bologna, oils, peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, corn, green beans, pork ‘n beans, Jello cups, Little Debbie’s and fruit cups,” Frost said. “So we give a good variety.”

Each month, items may vary.

“I try to mix it up, Frost said. “Before, we gave pudding, cans of peaches and macaroni. We’ve given cereal, cleaning supplies, canned chicken and tuna.”

The pantry started in May, and so far, the turnout has more than met expectations.

“Last month had 65 people,” Frost said. “We didn’t think we’d get that many.”

Frost said the city helped get the word out.

“The city lets us use the building, and they put a notice on everyone’s water bill about the pantry,” she said. “They have been very helpful.”

A total of about seven volunteers make the pantry possible, Frost said, from ordering to picking up the groceries to bagging and handing them out, including Arlene Morgan and Joann Corn.

“The two of them are there every time,” Frost said. “We get our heads together to see what different food items we can get.”

Frost said a rumor was started that some of the food items were out of date, but that is not accurate.

“It’s all fresh,” she said. “And the bread [we purchase] was baked the night before.”

The volunteers pick up and bag the groceries on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Stanley also pitches in and helps bag groceries.

“I think the pantry is a good thing [for the community], and I’m glad they started it,” she said. “Cassville has its own pantry, and Eagle Rock, so they thought Seligman needed one, too. I think the pantry will help people with their grocery bill, and maybe give them a little extra to use toward their utilities. We have a lot of retired people and seniors here, but it’s for anyone who has a Seligman address — you don’t have to have be low income.”

For more information about the pantry, or to make a donation, Frost may be reached at 417-662-3887.

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