Nonprofit Hickory County CARES dedicating new food pantry

Nonprofit Hickory County CARES dedicating new food pantry

November 7, 2012

An Ozarks Food Harvest member pantry celebrates one-year anniversary with a move to better serve those in need

WHO:  Ozarks Food Harvest, the regional food bank’s member food pantry in Wheatland, Mo., Hickory County CARES, received gifts totaling more than $85,000 from a former Hickory County resident, Larry Pickering, and his wife, Susanne. Larry was born in Hickory County and has maintained close ties to the area. The majority of the donation was used to purchase and close on a 3,000-square-foot concrete block building to operate their food pantry. The remaining funds were used to complete renovations, buy much needed equipment and help stock the pantry with food.

The building will be named after Larry Pickering’s grandparents, Verdie and Oral Bartshe, former longtime residents of Hickory County. Volunteers helped update the facility, making repairs, painting and completing electrical work.

WHAT:  The grand opening of Hickory County CARES’ food pantry in Wheatland, Mo. will consist of food being distributed the day before Thanksgiving to families in need from Cross Timbers, Hermitage, Pittsburg, Weaubleau and Wheatland, Mo. The day marks 15 months after the former West Central Missouri Community Action Agency (WCMCAA) food pantry announced it would close. Following that announcement more than a year ago, local Hickory County volunteers stepped up to form the nonprofit, Hickory County CARES, to ensure families would continue to receive food assistance in their community. The nonprofit is supported by 13 area churches of all denominations.

WHEN:  Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 at 8 a.m. Volunteers will arrive at 7:30 a.m.

WHERE:  Hickory County CARES, Verdie & Oral Bartshe Building, 240 N. Main (SE corner of 3rd & Main), Wheatland, Mo.

WHY:  The food insecurity rate in Hickory County is 18 percent, meaning more than 1,700 residents do not know where their next meal is coming from. CARES’ new building is twice the size of its former space and will allow the nonprofit to offer more resources, including an indoor waiting area for their clients.

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About Ozarks Food Harvest—The Food Bank      
Ozarks Food Harvest is the Feeding America food bank for southwest Missouri, serving 250 organizations across 28 Ozarks counties.Learn more at, or

About Hickory County CARES      
Hickory County CARES (Community Action Resource Education Services) is a community-run food pantry in Wheatland, Missouri, currently serving approximately 400 households monthly. CARES is open Tues., Wed. and Thurs. from 8:30 a.m. to noon and is staffed by more than 50 volunteers, including an 11-member board of directors. Ozarks Food Harvest, the regional food bank, provides the majority of CARES’ food supply. According to CARES, Hickory County is the fourth poorest county in the state. To learn more go to or