So far this year, more than 1,000 families have been helped with donations of food and clothing and financial assistance with electric, propane and water bills, and prescription medications.

Lamb House, an ecumenical food pantry and thrift shop just off the square in Camdenton, is looking for a new location.

According to the board of directors, they’d like a building with at least 6,000 square feet – more would be better – with plenty of parking for those who come by vehicle and located near the center of Camdenton to make it easier on those who come by foot.

The design of the interior isn’t all that important.

“When we moved into our current facility, which used to be the Camdenton Senior Center, a whole crew of men from a local church came in and made short work of ripping out the kitchen, putting up walls and building shelves. I’m confident that Lamb House will be able to get that same sort of support if we can find a building that needs remodeling,” said Pat Woodward, who has been working as manager since October 1994.

When the existing facility was purchased in 2003, the members knew the sale didn’t include any of the land next to the building. However, the man who owned the graveled lot assured the board they could use it as long as they needed it – and that they’d have first rights on buying the property if and when he ever decided to sell.

Unfortunately for Lamb House, that agreement was made on a handshake and never put into writing.

However, Michael J. McMahon, owner of Bail Bonds, said when he purchased the building next door to Lamb House several years ago, unbeknownst to the Lamb House Board of Directors, he was offered the opportunity to purchase the parking lot at the same time – and he took it.

He renovated what used to be Scotty’s Drive-In, turning it into a bail bonds office, and for quite some time, allowed Lamb House patrons to continue to use the lot. However, he said when customers and clients began to park in such a way that it caused him problems, he decided to rope it off.

Consequently, Lamb House parking was reduced to four or five spaces in front and three or four in back – a situation that has required some to call ahead to make appointments and forced others to repeatedly circle the block, waiting for an open space.

Due to its present lack of parking, the board voted some time ago to start looking for a new location. That decision was aided when a resident and member of a local church offered to make a very generous donation to facilitate the move. Unfortunately, nothing has met their needs to date.

Marc Magana, president of the board and the pastor of Camdenton United Methodist Church, said they decided to go public with their search because they felt there might be someone who has been teetering about selling – or who might even be interested in leasing a building to Lamb House on a long-term basis.

“Of course, it would also be nice if we could find someone looking for a big tax write-off who might be willing to donate the building – or the use of a building – to us,” he added.

So far this year, more than 1,000 families have been helped with donations of food and clothing and financial assistance with electric, propane and water bills, and prescription medications.

Lamb House, a non-profit, 501(c)3 faith-based organization, also acts as the administrator for the Camden County Senior Citizen Tax Board, which provides food vouchers for hundreds of senior citizens each month. Those $55 vouchers can be used at area grocery stores.

Lamb House also hosts Sue’s Shoes, which works with Camdenton R-III School District school nurses to provide new shoes for children during the school year when their parents can’t afford them.

In addition, a “burn closet” keeps household items – small kitchen appliances, towels, bedding, dishes, and the like – on hand to donate to those clients who are starting over. Many are women escaping an abusive home or people who have lost everything in a fire and have no insurance.

Lamb House relies on private donations to operate. One hundred percent of all food and monetary donations are given back to the community. Proceeds from the sales in the thrift store are used to pay the part-time manager’s salary and the operating costs, such as insurance and utilities.

For more information or to talk about the availability of a building, call 573-346-2168 between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday.