Food Pantry Brings Hope to Neighborhood
In the small town of Waynesville, MO, working parents trust neighbor Mary to take care of their children while they work long hours. Mary makes sure the kids get to school on time after eating a healthy breakfast. After school, she picks the kids up and cooks dinner for them. In the summertime, Mary cares for the children throughout the day, too.
She helps them with homework, plays with them and sometimes even tucks them into bed when parents work overnight shifts.
“We’re like one big family. I have known these families and the kids for a long time,” she shared.
Many of these low-income families can’t afford daycare or a babysitter for their children. Without Mary, they could be forced to leave children at home or try to get help from a relative in a nearby town. With rent, car payments, utilities and grocery bills, it’s impossible for these families to afford childcare every month.
Mary is currently on disability and doesn’t receive food stamps, so she visits Good Samaritan Food Pantry three times a week to get groceries.
“We can walk to the pantry from my sister’s house. Sometimes they serve healthy meals for the kids. They also always give the kids candy and special treats,” Mary said.
Good Samaritan offers fruits, vegetables, bread and other food for families in need. They also offer emergency clothing and household goods on a regular basis.
“We are able to give hope to those that may feel like they are at the end (of their rope) or have given up,” shared Heather Frabel, manager of Good Samaritan.
Good Samaritan’s mission statement is “To improve the quality of life for our clients by providing food and emergency services, treating each person with dignity and respect,” and Heather and her staff strive to live that out each and every day.
“We serve our clients with compassion and understanding, and we want them to know that we are here to help offer resources to get them headed in the right direction,” Heather said. “They can overcome things and be successful, and they don’t have to give up.”
Mary began getting groceries and clothing from Good Samaritan after she was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 20 years ago.
“The staff there is friendly and always so nice,” she shared. “All of my friends go there, too.”
Mary has some health issues that prevent her from working, so she still counts on Good Samaritan to help her take care of the children in her neighborhood. She picks up fruits and vegetables, meat and other nutritious foods to prepare for the kids’ dinners throughout the week.
On average, Good Samaritan serves 2,600 families each month. The food pantry receives weekly deliveries from Ozarks Food Harvest, distributes USDA commodity food and also offers Senior Food boxes to eligible seniors.
In small, rural towns like Waynesville—which has a population of just 5,000 residents—food pantries are absolutely essential for people struggling to make ends meet. Good-paying jobs can be hard to come by, making resources tight for families. Mary is extremely grateful for how Good Samaritan has continued to serve her community over the years.
“I would truly be lost without Good Samaritan and how they take care of us,” she said.
Thank you for your continued support of Ozarks Food Harvest and our mission of Transforming Hunger into Hope. Thanks to your kindness, someone in the Ozarks will eat today.