THAYER -- For the past several years the Hands of Hope has provided food assistance to many families in the community. Jerry and Wendy Donahue, who organized and ran the Hands of Hope Store in Thayer, retired last year, leaving the community without any food assistance service. On an average they served 150 families a week, providing them with The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) commodities from the Ozarks Food Harvest in Springfield.
TEFAP is a food assistance program for the disabled, elderly and low income citizens.
In September the Oregon County Health Department, area churches and many area volunteers established the Oregon County Food Pantry. The pantry is located in the old Thayer Elementary Rep-School Building. The first TEFAP commodities distribution was Oct. 21 and 94 local families were given food.
Commodities will be given away the third Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Senior citizens 65 and over or disabled households with two in the family can have a gross monthly income up to $1,515 to qualify.
Pantry volunteers said the TEFAP commodities are distributed to each county in the state on a limited basis and the local food pantry is in need of additional canned goods and donations for Thanksgiving baskets this holiday season. Any church, individual or organization that would like to contribute can contact the Oregon County Health Department Tuesday or Wednesdays at 264-3114 or Monday through Friday at 417-778-7450.