Seligman Food Pantry picks up the pace

Wednesday, August 30, 2017
When more than 87 residents showed up last month to receive a bag of food from the Seligman Food Pantry, volunteers had 90 bags ready this month. In photo, volunteers work in unison on Wednesday to fill the bags, which can be picked up on the fourth Thursday of each month from 2-6 p.m. at City Hall. To receive a bag of food, which contains 15 items, all residents have to do is bring a utility bill or driver’s license proving they are a Seligman resident. No paystubs, no applications and no hassle. Pictured in photo, from left, are volunteers: Frost, Arlene Morgan, LaVer Sexton, Erma Collins, Jo Ann Corn, Brenda McIlvain and Russ Dodd. Other volunteers not pictured who help with the pantry include Rena Harrington, Dee Olson and Peggy Parker. Julia Kilmer/reporter@cassville-democrat.com

Pantry organizer seeks donations to keep up with growth

On Wednesday, Seligman food pantry volunteers made sure at least 90 bags of food were ready and waiting for residents who were expected to arrive the next day to help stretch their grocery dollars just a little further.

Pantry organizer Carol (Pendergrast) Frost said the pantry has been picking up pace since it was established in May by an anonymous donor, with more than 87 residents — the highest number yet — coming in last month for food. In fact, some had to turned away when the pantry ran out of food, and that's not the first time.

While the donor provides $1,000 to purchase food each month, some producers have begun donating a few items to help, too, and some individuals are donating personal care products like soap and shampoo. Due to running out of food on more than one occasion, pantry organizers are inviting local businesses or producers to make food or monetary donations to help keep up with the demand.

Frost said she's made an effort to ask local businesses, but has not had any success.

"We've tried to get local businesses to donate," she said. "But, we can't get anyone to."

The bags contain about 15 food items, along with sugar, a meat product, potatoes, eggs and oleo. Residents can pick up a bag of food on the fourth Thursday of each month at City Hall from 2-6 p.m., and need only show a utility bill or driver's license proving Seligman residency. There are no paystubs, applications nor questions asked.

About 10 volunteers pick up, organize and fill the bags each month, learning as they go.

"We're better organized than before," said volunteer LaVer Sexton.

Each of the volunteers agreed that, in addition to helping local families, they get something out of giving their time, too.

"It's really fun to come here because we don't get to visit with our neighbors as much since the senior center closed," Sexton said. "And it makes you feel good to help people that need the food."

"We're all staying connected this way," said volunteer Jo Ann Corn. "We're all getting to enjoy it, and helping people who need food. And they really appreciate it. It helps stretch their paychecks a little further."

For more information or to make a donation, people may call Frost at 417-662-3887.

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