St. Susanne’s Food Pantry Makes Sure Neighbors Don’t Go Hungry

St. Susanne’s Food Pantry Makes Sure Neighbors Don’t Go Hungry

April 15, 2023 in Agency Spotlight

Across Ozarks Food Harvest’s service area, more than 50 percent of households rely on food pantries for at least half of their grocery needs. That kind of need is met in large part through the commitment and compassion in our network of community and faith-based charities. In Lawrence County, St. Susanne’s Food Pantry works diligently to make sure their neighbors don’t go hungry.

Greg Wilke is the director at St. Susanne’s Food Pantry. On top of his time spent organizing operations and food for the pantry, Greg has a full-time job, and he’s not the only one. St. Susanne’s Food Pantry is run entirely by volunteers. Greg estimates that about one third of their volunteers work full-time jobs, and the other two thirds are mostly retired. Many are farmers who help out when they’re not tending to their farms.

Despite having other obligations, Greg emphasizes that the pantry is not just something volunteers do in their spare time. “We drop everything to take care of [the pantry],” he says, “My wife, Joey, even has a phone for the pantry’s emergency phone number.”

Between twice monthly distributions and emergency appointments, St. Susanne’s Food Pantry serves more than 200 households each month who are facing a variety of circumstances. Many people are employed, but are still struggling to make ends meet with their income. Greg and Joey say one change they’ve seen recently is the increased number of combined households, with two or more families sharing one home to combat higher rent and housing costs.

For neighbors who may not know where their next meal is coming from, consistent access to food is a blessing. Greg shares, “A few months ago, a lady came through and said, ‘Without this food, I probably couldn’t have fed my kid tonight.’ She started crying. We all know people go hungry, but you don’t really realize it until someone says something like that.”

Ozarks Food Harvest is proud to support St. Susanne’s Food Pantry through our programs and food resources, so that St. Susanne can continue to provide food assistance in Lawrence County. “By partnering with Ozarks Food Harvest,” says Greg, “It’s much easier for us to come up with products to distribute. OFH keeps things consistent for us so we can be consistent with clientele.”

Through their hands-on generosity, our partner community and faith-based charities make a direct difference for our neighbors facing hunger. As Greg explains, “The ones that super truly need the help, that’s what makes it worthwhile.” Thank you to St. Susanne’s Food Pantry for your hard work making sure our neighbors get help in times of need. We’re grateful that you’re part of our hunger-relief network.