The Peace Pantry, as it is now known, is located in Cedar Hill in
Jefferson County, Missouri. It was first incorporated under the Catholic Church,
and then gained its independence in 1998.
The Peace Pantry offers
food, clothing, and other household supplies when they become available. The
clothing and supplies and kept separate from the food, in order to allow the pantry to
charge for clothing. This enables them to raise funds and to empower their
clients. If anything, that is the Peace Pantry's outstanding trait. They
earnestly attempt to make clients feel independent by utilizing client choice in their
pantry. The Peace Pantry has set up their site to resemble a grocery store, and they
allow clients to peruse the aisles making their own choices, instead of just handing them
a pre-packed bag of food. This method not only empowers clients, but reduces waste
Connie Stretch, one of
the two Co-Directors, comments that there are many challenges that come with running the
Peace Pantry. One of her biggest obstacles is simply trying to meet the needs of the
community. Peace Pantry has expanded its hours, and grown in volunteers, and yet,
they still could be doing more. Currently, the Peace Pantry has 72 volunteers who
have given 15, 934 hours of service over the past year. Connie is hoping to be able
to expand their volunteers just do not have any more time to give.
With all of these
challenges come many rewards. Connie states that one of her rewards is knowing that
she is making the difference in her clients' lives, and that many people who receive help,
ultimately turn lives around and give back to the pantry.
Connie adds that although
the Peace Pantry receives support from the community, their growing needs require even
more resources to continue operating. For example, just this past Christmas, the
Peace Pantry offered assistance to 101 families, with 75 of those participating in the
"Adopt a Family" program.
Connie would like to see
more programs and services such as these offered through the year, and to be able to open
their clothes closet to the public more often. However, to do these things, the
Peace Pantry will have to rely on more volunteer help and financial support.
If you would like to
volunteer your time, the Peace Pantry is looking for individuals who are physically able
to lift and move food. You may also contribute financially to the Peace
Pantry. For more information, please call Connie Stretch or Rich Leiber at (636)