New Franklin food pantry offers relief to flood victims
NEW FRANKLIN - The Federal Emergency Management Agency has not declared Howard County a natural disaster at this point.
Until Howard County has been declared a disaster area, victims from the tornado and flood damages can only rely on local help.
The New Franklin Cares food pantry will be distributing food Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. to anyone affected by recent severe weather.
The director of the food pantry, Deb Clark, said the pantry has served the New Franklin community for nearly 3 years.
"Usually something has happened in their life," she said. "An illness can set them back horribly, a flood, like right now, and anything else in their life that caused them to spend their money for things that they wouldn't normally spend it for."
Audrey Phelps serves as the community organizer for Howard and Cooper counties on behalf of the Central Missouri Community Action organization.
"There was a mandatory evacuation and power was cut off to homes, so anybody that had food at home, it's gone," Phelps said.
She said donations to the food pantry are critical at this point.
"When a disaster like this strikes, we see that number increase simply because folks have to start utilizing more personal resources to do things like feeding themselves or finding shelter," Phelps said.
New Franklin Police Chief Mike Wise said they have 150 people on record who were affected by the flood waters in the New Franklin and Franklin area, but he believes there many more.
"If you've smelled the flood waters ever in your life you know that no one would want to eat any food left in their house," Clark said.
For those returning home from the shelters, Clark said many of them have used their money and resources to pay gas bills to drive back and forth to maintain their jobs.
"So the people who are not normally accepting food stamps, or normally coming to our pantry, are suddenly in need," she said.
She said the Food Bank of Columbia is making a delivery to the pantry sometime Thursday morning before the distribution.
Clark said the food pantry is completely run by volunteers, and they appreciate anyone who wants to help.
"We are solely donation-oriented," Clark said.
She mentioned the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel in Boonville has been very generous to the food pantry.
"They have a box now where people can stick there tickets that they don't want and their chips and they match that money."
Clark said they are still in need of volunteers to help grab and bag food for those who come into the food pantry.
She also added she can always be called for anyone in need of food even when the food pantry is closed.
To donate or volunteer, Clark asked those interested to call the number (660) 537-6100.