The move to a new facility is complete for a Morgan County food pantry. The first distribution at Food 4 Morgan County’s new location at 305 W. Newton St. is this Wednesday.
Remodeling of the old Gerbes building and former surplus store began this winter, and the facility is now a functional space for the food pantry and other resource agencies, according to F4MC volunteer Linda Lagergren. The remodel expanded areas for food storage and distribution, meeting space, a fully-equipped kitchen and other office space for other non-profit agencies.
The site is intended to help the Versailles-based organization serve the needs of a growing clientele. In addition to changing their location, F4MC will also be switching from one distribution per month to one or more weekly distributions.
It is believed the weekly distribution model will better allow clients to select the best day of the month for them to attend.
The additional food space at the facility will help the pantry support these services. At the new location, the organization’s capacity to serve those in need is estimated to increase to 550 families per month compared to the 2016 average of 375 families per month.
The first food distribution will be held from 10 am.-2 p.m. Wednesday, July 12.
A family or individual in need of food in Morgan County may request assistance by bringing proof of address, date of birth, and social security cards for each member of the family. To help reduce crowding and long waits, previous families have scheduled appointment dates for July.  Any new families should plan on coming later in the month.
The scheduled dates for this month include July 12, 3-6 p.m. July 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 20 and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 24.  Anyone wanting more information can call Linda Lagergren at 573-372-6673.
The ability to expand to serve a population in need is a dream come true, said F4MC volunteer Donna Chapman in January after volunteers began dismantling shelving at the building in order to prepare for remodeling and turning it into a community resource center. The building purchase and remodel was funded through donations encouraged by a Neighborhood Assistance Program grant - through the Missouri Department of Economic Development - that allows the pantry to provide tax credits for donations. The NAP donation campaign began in February 2016.
The organization also announced the purchase of a new-used box delivery truck earlier this year. The truck along with other food-moving items were recently purchased by F4MC utilizing a grant received through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, Louis and Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program. This is a partnership between Community Foundation of the Ozarks and The Commerce Trust Company that awards grants to agencies serving the Missouri Ozarks to support new or innovative programs in a variety of areas including social services.
The building and truck were both part of a revamped system of service planned by F4MC.
The purpose of the grant request was to supplement the food that F4MC receives from the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri, the objective being a van or truck to increase local donations of food products.
Local donations increased from 11,176 pounds during the first six months of 2016, to 19,919 pounds during the last six months of the year. The increased number of pounds was directly related to the availability of the truck, according to Chapman.
In the first six months of the year, there was an average of five donors that provided food products. The number of donors also increased to 14 one month.
In addition to the delivery truck, The Coover Foundation Grant awarded allowed for the purchase of a battery and/or electric-powered pallet truck jack and lift stacker.