Cassville Food Pantry gets new address, more space

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
In the new Food Pantry location, Jackie Basham, Trish McGrath, Glenna Glueckert, Jane Hall and Kathleen McCoy worked on the USDA Food Distribution assembly line on Sept. 22. Contributed photo

Mills: ‘God really lead us in this direction’

The United Methodist Church Food Pantry has served its community for 20 years out of the church’s basement, but now, the newly dubbed “Cassville Food Pantry” has moved to a bigger and brighter location in Cassville.

Janet Mills, Cassville Food Pantry director, said for 20 years, the food pantry has operated to the best of its ability, and now, there is more room to grow.

Pantry volunteers like Janice Fratus work daily to meet the needs of their community with multiple programs. Now, the Cassville Food Pantry has a new address and more space to work. Contributed photo

“The inspiration came when we saw that we needed to serve the community due to COVID-19,” she said. “It pointed out the limitations we had. We were unable to social distance inside the building, and it forced us to give up our personal connections and serve the food in a pick-up line outside.”

With winter coming, as well as the lack of space available, the pantry needed a change.

“At one point, we had widened the doors to allow for better semi-truck delivery,” she said. “But, with all the other activities going on in the church, we decided to look into the future of the food pantry.”

The programs were maximizing the capability in the church facility, and it just wasn’t enough.

“We have hopes to serve this community for years and years to come,” Mills said. “Over the years, the program has grown, and moving to another location had come up in discussions.”

Mills said it is just as important to serve with compassion and hope as it is to serve the food itself.

“With the new facility, we believe we can bring people in to have a more intimate relationship,” she said. “Hunger problems won’t just go away, and moving into the future, we are going to be able to grow and blossom as our community needs.”

The economic stress of COVID-19 has affected those who had not had to deal with food insecurity before.

“Due to unemployment, some families are facing this issue for the first time,” she said. “That is another reason why it is important to build relationships.”

Mills said everyone is excited for the new facility and its efficiency.

“It is 10,000 square feet,” she said. “And, it is all for the food programs.”

The facility is more geared for storing and managing the food, and Mills said there is so much potential to work with.

“Our intention was to find a building with a lot of space that was still close to town,” she said. “A centrally located facility is important to the people in the community that are without transportation, so they can access it easily.”

Now, the Cassville Food Pantry is neighbors to both the Habitat for Humanity and the Barry County Neighborhood Center — OACAC.

“This is great for the community because we are able to help people in a bigger way,” Mills said. “We can refer people to each other for help, and people dealing with a limited budget do not need to travel to multiple locations all over town.”

The new facility opened on Sept. 8.

“God really lead us in this direction,” Mills said. “It has all gone so smoothly and feels anointed by his desire for this program and for fruitfulness.”

Mills is confident that the new facility will be sustainable for years to come.

“Its purpose is so critical to the people in our community that are in need,” she said. “The fact that we have seen so many new folks due to the COVID-19 pandemic is proof of that. We want to support our community.”

In addition to the three food programs operating out of the Cassville Food Pantry, it also is a diaper bank that can also give out personal care and personal hygiene items.

The three different food programs are:

• Feeding America Pantry — Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings from 9-11:15 a.m.

One food box is offered per household address once per month.

• USDA Distribution — Distribution occurs on the afternoon of the fourth Tuesday of every month. Upcoming dates include: Oct. 27, and Nov. 24 from 3:30-5 p.m.

This is a government-sponsored food assistance program. Recipients must meet a low-income criteria and be residents of Barry County.

• USDA Senior Box Commodity Supplemental Food Program —One day per month, on the Friday that follows the third Monday each month (*date exceptions for holiday months). The next date is Oct. 23 from 1-3 p.m.. An application process and documentation required.

This is a government sponsored food assistance program for low-income persons age 60 and older. If there are two persons in the home over the age of 60 and the household qualifies by income, both persons can potentially receive a food box.

The new pantry location is 800 West 10th St. in Cassville.

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