The Salvation Army’s O’Fallon food pantry may be forced to turn hundreds of hungry St. Louisans away this week as its reserves near depletion.
The food pantry has struggled to handle the influx of need in recent years, but this is the first time in recent memory that shelves are empty.
“The cupboards are bare; they are truly bare,” said Major Paul Ferguson, commanding officer for the Army’s O’Fallon Community and Worship Center. “I can’t remember a time since we’ve been here that it’s been this bad.”
Two years ago, the O’Fallon food pantry served an average of 45 families per month. That number has grown exponentially, with hundreds of families registered to receive food each month.
“There are so many people in need and we just aren’t receiving the donations to help them,” Major Ferguson said. “We’ve reached the point where we’ll have to close this week and turn people away because we just don’t have anything to give them.”
In June, the pantry received 20,000 pounds from generous businesses and individuals, but in August, donations plummeted to only 3,900 pounds of food. According to Major Ferguson, critically needed items include dry goods (macaroni and cheese, pasta, rice, and cereal), canned meats, boxed meals, and protein-rich items like peanut butter.
Although the shelves aren’t empty at the St. Charles food pantry, its supplies are reaching critical levels. To help restock the shelves of any of the Army’s food pantries, visit our website at www.STLSalvationArmy.org to find a list of addresses and contact information for each pantry.
The O’Fallon food pantry accepts food donations between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. every day at their facility located at 3 William Booth Drive, O’Fallon, MO 63366. Staff will be available 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday if donors wish to deliver the food in person, otherwise donations should be left in the designated food barrels outside. If donors have large amounts of food and cannot deliver them during collection hours, please contact the O’Fallon food pantry at 636-240-4969 and staff will do their best to accommodate. Food barrels have also been placed in St. Louis at the Mobil gas station at 1050 Hampton Ave.; the BP Amoco gas station at 1104 Hampton Ave.; and the BP Amoco at 3140 Olive St. at the corner of Compton Ave.
To make a monetary donation, simply text the word “GOOD” to 80888 to make a $10 donation or support us through the web. If you’re unable to make a donation but still want to help, spread the word on Twitter and other social media networks using the hashtag #StockOurShelves.