Tinsel Tea brings awareness to food pantry

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mills: ‘We want to make people aware that they can come to us’

The annual Tinsel Tea, hosted by the United Methodist Church, will be held on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The fundraiser is to help raise funds and awareness to the need of hunger and security in the area.

Janet Mills, director of the Cassville Community food pantry, said the food pantry is a ministry of the church.

“This is the 16th annual year for the event,” Mills said. “There will be 17-20 different hosts and hostesses.”

According to Mills, anyone is welcome to come to the event.

“It will start with an entertainment piece, then we will have a luncheon,” Mills said. “The entertainment will include soloists doing Christmas themes, scripture reading and a focus on hunger issues.”

Mills said there will be time dedicated to discussion about the food pantry and what it does.

“This time will be spent talking about hunger and security,” Mills said. “That is the whole reason for the tea.”

Mills said they want the public to be aware of needs, and also what they are trying to do to fix the problem.

“The food pantry is there to help,” Mills said. “Sometimes, people don’t know of the resources available to them.”

According to Mills, if someone needs help, they need only to come to the food pantry to help feed families.

“The Tinsel Tea will be connected with a matching grant opportunity,” Mills said. “Thanks to the Walmart Foundation through the Ozark Food Harvest, we are the recipient of the ninth annual hunger challenge grant.”

According to Mills, if the goal of $2,000 is met at the Tinsel Tea, a grant of up to $2,000 will be matched in funds for the purchases at the Ozark Food Harvest.

“The Ozark Food Harvest serves multiple counties in Missouri,” Mills said. “We are a partnership agency of the Ozark Food Harvest, and that is primarily where we get most of our food resources.”

Mills said every host does a unique decoration to their table that is generally quite elaborate.

“The tables are usually creatively, artistically and festively decorated,” Mills said. “The hosts invite people to come sit at their table during the tea.”

According to Mills, the plates are sold for $20 apiece.

“The luncheon is usually a brunch type menu,” Mills said. “It is very traditional.”

Mills said the pantry needs to raise $2,000 through a fundraising experience in order to be eligible to receive the grant.

“That is potentially $4,000 that can be spent at the Ozark Food Harvest in Springfield,” Mills said. “Open seating for the Tinsel Tea is available on a limited basis.”

Mills said as long as the space is available, they are taking reservations.

“Generally, we see about 175-200 people at the tea,” Mills said. “We operate three different food outreach programs.”

According to Mills, Feeding America Pantry is the daily walk-in pantry that serves an average of 325 families a month.

“Ultimately, we have two other panties that serve more families,” Mills said. “All together, we serve an average of 1,245 individuals monthly.”

According to Mills, there is also a diaper bank through the food pantry, and also provide personal care products like shampoo, laundry soap and toothpaste.

“We serve Barry County at large,” Mills said. “Anything to minimize the expenses for people who need it.”

People interested in seating for the Tinsel Tea can call the United Methodist Church and ask for Janet Mills at 417-847-2328.

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