Local food pantry sees increase in number of families served

Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Aryn Spears of Shining Light in Charleston, loads food items for its monthly USDA food distribution program Saturday in Charleston.
Bob Greenlee/Standard Democrat

CHARLESTON, Mo. — A Mississippi County food pantry saw an increase of more than 150 families served through its monthly USDA food distribution program Saturday in Charleston.

Kimberly Capone, secretary of Shining Light in Charleston, said the church’s food pantry served 562 families compared to its normal 400 they serve each month.

The coronavirus outbreak was credited for the increase, she said.

Capone said she expects those numbers to increase next month.

“We know businesses are closing and people are getting laid off so if they didn’t qualify before, they will now,” Capone said, adding some stores had sold out of some foods recently, too.

Families served through the program receive many food staples in the distribution, which is through the SEMO Food Bank, Capone said.

The next monthly food distribution will be April 18.

Saturday also marked the first time pantry volunteers, which also saw a jump of 20-25 to 44 volunteers, conducted a drive-thru method of delivery for the recipients who must reside in the Charleston R-1 School District, Capone said.

“We also screened all the volunteers; everyone had their temperatures taken in advance,” Capone said.

Food distribution started a little early than normal because volunteers knew there would be trial and error with the drive-thru option, she said.

“We got it done and had some amazing volunteers,” Capone said, noting that Dean Wallace is the director of Shining Light Food Pantry.

She also noted some local farmers even graded the road, which had been saturated from recent rains, and parking lot at the church and donated gravel to help with the traffic on Saturday.

For more information about the Shining Light Food Pantry, call (573) 683-2555.

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