Realizing the disparity among incomes at the Lake and the issues with hunger, Harper Chapel United Methodist Church in Osage Beach has stepped forward to help plug the hunger gap by introducing God's Cupboard. The self-serve food pantry is open to anyone who might need a jar of peanut butter, or package of Raman noodles, a can of soup or even some toiletry products to help fill the void. It's stocked with a variety of nourishing food items.

Nearly 16 percent of Camden County residents are unsure where their next meal will come from. Astonishingly, nearly 27 percent of individuals under 18 years of age aren't sure about their next meal.

That's according to the 2016 Missouri Hunger Atlas, compiled by the University of Missouri to assess the extent of food insecurity in Missouri. The numbers in Miller and Morgan counties are similar, ranking the tri-county area as high or very high when it comes to rank among Missouri counties.

Realizing the disparity among incomes at the Lake and the issues with hunger, Harper Chapel United Methodist Church in Osage Beach has stepped forward to help plug the hunger gap by introducing God's Cupboard. The self-serve food pantry is open to anyone who might need a jar of peanut butter, or package of Raman noodles, a can of soup or even some toiletry products to help fill the void. It's stocked with a variety of nourishing food items.

Jan Campbell, chairman of the church's Mission Team, brought the idea to church officials after seeing the idea on a television program and then reading about. Church Pastor Jim Day was then inspired when he read about the Corner Library free book exchange on Passover Road.

"Why not do the same thing with food and other items for folks who might have a need," he explained recently.

Campbell agreed, adding that many residents only see one side of what goes on at the lake and don't consider there are people who struggle with getting food for themselves and their families. She hopes the word spreads throughout the lake community that God's Cupboard is available to anyone in need, not just residents of Osage Beach.

God's Cupboard is located near the church parking lot at 5567 Osage Beach Pkwy., adjacent to Osage Beach Parkway.

Campbell explained that the project was spearheaded by the Mission Team, which focuses on the needs of the community. Construction of the pantry-style cupboard was a church effort by church members. The congregation is supplying the food and other items, and donations of funds and items are welcome from the community. No perishable are recommended. 

"We don't want to forget the children of our community, so we're also providing food and snack items that might be appropriate for them as well," Campbell said. 

Harper Chapel also has a community garden that might supply fresh vegetables on a limited basis.

"Our goal, simply, is to meet the needs of the community as we realize that not everyone is as fortunate as others," Campbell said. 

God's Cupboard is available round the clock.