October 6, 2011

Food Pantry Targeting November Completion Date

by Hannah Kiddoo

A new food bank space will soon be available to serve local families. The Scotland County Ministerial Alliance hopes to announce the completion of the new county food bank by the end of November.

"Our ambition is that by the community Thanksgiving service we can go to the community and say 'it's all finished'," explained Jack Sumption, pastor of the First Christian Church and member of the Ministerial Alliance.

An ongoing project, the food pantry's structure has been completed and functional for months, but its interior has not been entirely finished. While food is currently distributed out of the building, the ultimate design goal of the pantry has not yet been reached. Sumption explained that food distribution for families is currently "one size fits all", but when construction is finished, distribution will change into a "shopping system", where those needing food can simply select food that fits their family and lifestyle needs in conjunction with suggestions from pantry volunteers.

The new building was created because the former facility was not nearly spacious enough to fit the needs of the community. Since the completion of the new building, the pantry is able to hold double the amount of food and supplies for area families, including cold foods that require refrigeration. The pantry received a donation from Dean's in Lancaster that included the gift and installation of freezer units, previously used at a Missouri Wal-Mart.

"They've been a real asset," Sumption stated of the freezers.

Projected to cost around $60,000, the building will be finished under budget because of the large amount of volunteer work during the project and construction funded by local businesses.

Food in the pantry is received from the Central Missouri Food Bank in Columbia. The first Wednesday of each month is delivery day at the pantry; a truck drops off donated goods that are then passed out to area families on the following Friday. The Central Missouri Food Bank was founded in 1981. Today, they distribute over 27 million pounds of food throughout 32 Missouri counties, including Scotland.

Food Pantry Director Nancy Kapfer said that the truck delivers around 22 pallets, or 30,000 pounds of food each month. That amount serves between 500 and 700 people each month, with winter months bringing in more families.

Sumption stated that if someone was in need of food outside of normal distribution hours, a backup, emergency food collection is also available. Future plans also include the distribution of household materials, such as appliances and cleaning supplies to families as needed.

The food pantry is sponsored as a joint effort between the Scotland County Ministerial Alliance. The Alliance consists of area churches and their members.

"The goal of the food pantry for the ministerial alliance is to provide ministry and help the needs of the folks in our community. While we want to distribute food, we also have it set up with our volunteers with the very clear purpose of becoming acquainted with the people that are served so that we can assist through our churches in whatever ways we can to help their needs."

Volunteers are always welcome during the distribution process and to help with general maintenance around the facility. Sumption explained that all talents contributing to the pantry are appreciated and that there will be opportunities for landscaping, dirt work, and other projects around the pantry. Additionally, food and monetary donations are accepted at the agency. Those wishing to contribute to the Ministerial Alliance's food pantry efforts should contact Sumption at 660-212-0242, Kapfer at 660-465-8959, or Dan Hite at 660-465-2142.

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