Boy Scouts of America scouts, youth and non-scouts in November collected 15,500 pounds of food and 31,000 items in the Annual Troy Scouting For Food event. The food and items will help sustain families in need through local food pantries like Ministries Unlimited. Photo provided by Ministries Unlimited.
By Pat Pratt
Ministries Unlimited, a food pantry based in Troy, is kicking off its annual Christmas Fundraising Drive, hoping to cover expenses for the upcoming year for its mission of feeding families in the Triad School District area.
The drive comes as many families have faced a year of rising food costs and other crippling inflation, such as fuel and housing costs. Ministries Unlimited Director Kathy Scheller said she has noticed a decline since May in frequency of donations at the pantry, as well as an uptick throughout 2022 in the number of families needing assistance.
“At the beginning of the year, we were probably averaging 12 families a week, maybe 15 at the highest,” Scheller said. “Now we are routinely around 20 a week, so there has been a definite increase.”
For its annual Christmas Fundraising Drive, the pantry set a goal of $40,000 to cover expenses in the year ahead. To reach that goal, it will take the help of local communities including Troy, St Jacob and Marine, Ministries Unlimited stated in a news release announcing the drive.
“Once again, we are asking the Troy, St Jacob and Marine communities to come together to help provide for families in need,” the release states. “Each year we have asked the communities to donate funds and each year you have blessed us to reach our goal and exceed it.”
The Christmas Fundraising Drive also helps fund Ministries Unlimited Christmas Food Box efforts. The boxes include ham or turkey, milk, bread and fresh fruit along with non-perishable food items to provide a holiday meal. Donors can also give gift cards, which will be placed inside to help someone get a holiday gift or purchase other necessities.
In addition to monetary donations, the pantry accepts non-perishable food items and other sundries. Toilet paper and paper towels are frequently in short supply, Scheller said. The pantry does take some perishable food items, but those must be dropped off in-person, when someone is available to tend to the items.
“We will take most anything,” Scheller said. “We will even take perishables as long as we are open, they can’t just leave them on the door.”
While the amounts of food at the pantry are now at a level to sustain current client needs, such would not have been possible without the recent Scouting for Food Drive by the Boy Scouts of America. Pete’s Market in Troy has also been very generous in supplying items to the pantry, Scheller said, as have many local businesses and individuals.
“Right now we are pretty good because we just did the Boy Scout drive,” Scheller said. “ We have a lot of food from that. In any case we will probably start running out around March or April, somewhere around there.”
Anyone interested in donating to the pantry can drop off food or gift cards at Ministries Unlimited located at 310 Collinsville Rd in Troy. Monetary donations may be mailed or dropped off. The pantry also encourages anyone who knows a family in need of assistance to please have them call 618-505-5053 or give their name to one of the local churches in Troy, St. Jacob or Marine.