Bread for Life Food Pantry in Troy, MO, focuses on the needs of families, including children and seniors.
Bread for Life Food Pantry, located in Troy, Mo., has served residents in need from Lincoln County since 2003. It began as a mission of the Greater Troy Ministerial Alliance, who recognized the need for a community food pantry. Today, the pantry operates as an independent nonprofit organization, distributing food to clients every Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., except on the last Wednesday of the month, when hours are from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. The Salvation Army uses the Bread for Life facility each Tuesday morning from 9 a.m. until noon, assisting clients needing help with housing and utilities.
Clients can come to the pantry once each month. Back in 2003, it served approximately 50 families per month. Today, 390 families on average are served each month. In 2015, the pantry worked with a total of 5,563 families; 34 percent of those receiving food are children 18 and younger.
Working Together to Feed More People
Seniors are also a significant focus for the pantry. Bread for Life partners with the Lincoln County Council on Aging (LCCOA) in many ways. Each month, the pantry’s delivery of product from the St. Louis Area Foodbank includes a pallet of produce for LCCOA. Their drivers come to the pantry and take these produce items to the ‘Nutrition Site’. In addition, Bread for Life partners with LCCOA on the ‘Senior Box’ project. Thirty clients per month receive a box of food from the pantry – the boxes are delivered by the Nutrition Site drivers. The thirty recipients are chosen by LCCOA and they are not pantry clients, but are identified as in need of food. The program will expand to 50 boxes within the next six months.
The pantry also shares product with LCCOA on a regular basis. “If we have extra bread or other perishable items that need to be distributed before the next pantry day, LCCOA accepts the product to use in their daily operation,” says Harriet Zuroweste, Bread for Life co-director. “These blended programs have been very helpful to both agencies.”
Building Lives Through Community
For many clients, the Bread for Life Food Pantry provides not only food, but also a sense of community. “We have clients who live alone and have no family in the area,” Zuroweste notes. “First, they may come to the pantry as a client. After a few visits, they begin to know the workers who they see every month. And then it is not unusual for them to ask about volunteering – and they become a part of the pantry family. We are often told they look forward to Wednesdays and coming to work with familiar faces. The pantry becomes an anchor for them.”
Bread for Life has obtained food from the Foodbank for more than a decade. “When donors ask if we would rather have food donations or cash, we always tell them cash,” says Zuroweste. “Cash donations go a long way in securing produce, canned goods, pizzas, chicken, pasta and all kinds of staples from the Foodbank.”