Crosslines Provides for Low-Income Families in Laclede County

May 13, 2019 in Agency Spotlight

For the past 38 years, Crosslines in Lebanon has helped put meals on the table for thousands of people in Laclede County.

The food pantry was established in 1981 by a group of ministers and concerned citizens who wanted to serve low-income families in the area. The pantry is open several days a week, and Crosslines also offers clothing, household goods and emergency financial support to clients. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for residents of Laclede County by providing supplemental and emergency assistance.

“The job is very heartwarming…I’m usually the one to see the smiles and tears of joy,” Viola Blankenship, executive director at Crosslines, shared. “And I get to hear when the children are there and say, ‘Look, Mom, there are cookies!’”

With only one paid employee, Crosslines relies on volunteers to keep things organized and hand out food.

“Volunteers are the backbone of Crosslines, and they come from all walks of life. They all really seem happy to be helping others. We are like one big family,” Viola said.

Crosslines began partnering with Ozarks Food Harvest in 1991. Each week, The Food Bank supplies the pantry with thousands of pounds of USDA commodities to help feed hungry families.

Viola knows that Crosslines is changing lives in southwest Missouri.

“We are making a big difference in families’ lives. Not only do we help keep their children in clothes, we help take the worry away when they think they will not have anything to eat that night,” she expressed.

Viola and her team of volunteers serve with kindness and humility to fight hunger and poverty every day in Laclede County. And while they love to imagine a hunger-free community, they also see things getting more difficult for struggling families.

“Government cuts, level pay and higher cost of living make it very hard to make ends meet. I think Crosslines will be here to help for many more years. We have a caring community,” she said.

Ozarks Food Harvest is grateful for Crosslines’ service in Lebanon and how it continues to serve children, families and seniors that need a little extra help when difficult seasons arise.