Open Door Service Center is asking for the community’s help in returning its missing carts to better serve clients.
Jennifer Taylor, pantry lead/volunteer coordinator, said about 10 of the Open Door Food Pantry’s carts have gone missing. She said it’s been slowly happening over time, ever since Open Door made the switch to a choice pantry, as clients take them home and never return them.
Clients grab a cart to look through the food offerings at the pantry, serving the same purpose as a cart at the grocery store — making it easier to carry your selected items.
Without the carts, Taylor said they’re helping fewer families per day, which puts them behind schedule. Some families are having to come back another day when the pantry runs out of time.
“We do five to seven meals a month for families,” Taylor said. “Without these carts, they won’t be able to carry everything. It slows us down in production. We have to wait for a cart to come back.”
Taylor said clients are allowed to leave their driver’s license at the pantry in exchange for being able to use the cart to take their items home, but many aren’t bringing the cart back. She said maybe the cold weather is causing clients to not return to Open Door after already making a trek through frigid temperatures.
“If they continue to do this, we won’t have carts anymore and they’ll be carrying their groceries,” Taylor said. “... We don’t want to give less food because they can’t carry it. It’s going to limit them.”
The carts were donated to Open Door by The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri in Columbia. Due to the nature of being a nonprofit, Open Door can’t afford to replace the missing carts and must function using what is left.
The carts are also becoming an eyesore. Many clients use the carts to take their food home but then leave it somewhere around the city. Taylor said she receives calls from citizens saying they found an Open Door cart, recognizable by the neon green paint on the bottom half, in their yard.
Open Door Executive Director Amanda Davis said the organization wants to continue helping with food barriers in Sedalia but it is being hindered by this recent problem. If someone finds one of the carts, Taylor asks citizens to call Open Door and someone will return the cart to the service center.
“We’re not able to replace them, so as the carts dwindle, the clients shopping through dwindles too,” Taylor said.
For more information, contact Taylor at 660-827-1613.