Fall Is A Critical Time For Local Food Pantry

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The budget for Benton County’s Food Pantry seems to suffer most during the fourth quarter (fall) of each year. Different organizations have been stepping forward to help with food drives and fundraising to help out. This year it is the Warsaw Elks Lodge 2783 that has been working hard to fill the Pantry shelves.
“The Fourth Quarter Food Drive started in June with the Channel Hop, put together by BuckNaked Restaurant, Bar and Marina,” said Chuck Allcorn, Elk member and Vice President of the Benton County Food Pantry Board. “That event raised $1,050. As of the end of August, $3,421 had been raised through volunteer efforts and 1,760 pounds of food was delivered by the Elks to the Pantry. We are looking into getting Warsaw schools involved in food drives this fall where there might be competition between classrooms to collect the largest amounts of canned goods.”
Allcorn said the benefit of having the local Elks do this food drive is that the National Elks gives them credit for community service. This credit can then turn into grants that allow Lodge 2783 to fund more community service in the area.
“The money raised in this food drive is going to buy protein (meat),” said Allcorn. “Ninety percent of the food that the local Pantry gives out to Benton County residents comes from the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, in Columbia. As a rule the local Pantry goes to Columbia weekly in a two-ton truck to pick up a load. But very little of that food is meat. We are thinking that in addition to meats that are available now, in November we will buy turkey rolls (boneless turkey) that can be used to feed more people than whole turkeys.”
Allcorn said that the number of clients using the Food Pantry is expected to increase due to President Trump’s proposal to change the food stamp program. www.pbs.org reported in September that millions of Americans stand to lose food stamp benefits under the proposed policy changes. An analysis by the firm Mathematica suggests that nine percent of households nationwide that currently receive food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, would no longer qualify for those benefits under the proposed rule. It was reported that percent could be much higher in certain states. 
President of the Benton County Food Pantry is Susan Sullivan, and Director of the Pantry is Jeannie Arnold. The all-volunteer organization is located at 121 Tower Road in Warsaw, and is open from 9 AM to 12 PM, and 1 to 3 PM, Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Friday.