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Open Door Food Pantry seeks help during low donations, expanding needs


Victoria Powell, supervisor of the Open Door Food Pantry, told the Democrat on Thursday, April 18 that the need for food is rapidly outstripping the diminished supply.

“It is more than normal. There's something going on with Feeding America that we're not getting near the food that we would normally get from our food bank,” Powell said. “We are seeing the semi-trucks that usually come in full are coming in barely filled.”

With fewer donations filling the local warehouse, Open Door is finding it increasingly difficult to provide nourishment to Sedalia’s hungry.

“We are feeding over 3,000 families a month and the numbers are not going down,” Powell said. “What the Open Door did, we reached out to our community and they are coming through. It's just getting people to realize that, yes, you brought in a big load of food, of cereal, but that cereal is going to last three days and it's gonna be gone again.”

As much as the pantry and warehouse employees and volunteers love their locally sourced food donations, they want people to realize something more must be done, and quick.

Smith-Cotton and Sacred Heart schools teamed up this week to collect food at their varsity baseball games at Liberty Park Stadium. According to Powell, it’s a wonderful gesture.

“Anything like that helps, yes,” Powell said. “I was so happy that they reached out because they got varsity games going on and that draws the public in because these are big events. They're doing a can drive every game, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.”

Any shelf-stable food item placed into the big bins outside the gate will serve as admission to the evening game.

“It's a wonderful help,” Powell said. “It involves the community, and it gets the kids involved to see what it takes to get food out to people in need.”

Michelle O'Donnell, development director for Open Door, is also very concerned the food trucks are arriving with less and less each time.

“It seems like in the last three months, we kind of saw it coming,” O’Donnell said, “and then at a recent meeting with the Food Bank, we kind of learned, yeah, this is trickling down all from Feeding America.”

Powell points out that everyone is in this food shortage crisis together, and asks donors big and small to think of more ways of restocking the community food pantry.

“Everything's going up, so people are on a budget and with that budget, they can only buy so much,” Powell said. “With the food prices going up, what we would normally get would be a larger amount, but it's getting smaller because they are on that budget. Feeding America's feeling it, we're feeling it, I think the community itself is feeling it.”

Donations of food through the back door of the food pantry are much smaller, staff says.

“From February 2023 to February 2024, at the Open Door, we were down 41,000 pounds from the Food Bank, and that's huge,” Powell stressed.

“Thank you to everyone that is bringing whatever they can,” O’Donnell added. “Every little bit helps, and thank you to the schools, everybody.”

For more information, visit opendoorservicecenter.org or call 660-827-1613.

Chris Howell can be reached at 660-530-0146.