Wrenfrow said the Thanksgiving baskets included a turkey and several produce items, as well as canned goods. "The pantry served 219 families in the Thayer area, and 197 families in Alton," said Wrenfrow. Food distribution takes place on the first Thursday of every month from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
"We get our food from Ozarks Food Harvest, and some comes through the TEFAP program which is the emergency food assistance program. The Ozarks Food Harvest delivers to our door, and we also receive donations from the community. If someone gives us a monetary donation, we purchase most everything through Ozarks Food Harvest because it is cheaper and they deliver it directly to us," said Wrenfrow.
The Thayer distribution takes place behind the old elementary school building, in Thayer. In Alton, the distribution takes place at the Community Worship Center. The facilities are open only on the day that food is delivered and distributed. If someone is in immediate need of food, arrangements can be made for volunteers to meet them.
Anyone can sign up to be part of the pantry but there are income guidelines. "If they live in the Alton area, we prefer they come to the Alton distribution. The Thayer area serves Thayer, Couch and Koshkonong," Wrenfrow said. The guidelines are posted on the doors of the pantries. Families or individuals can sign up on distribution day.
Wrenfrow said applicants need to bring documents including a utility bill for proof of residence, social security card for each member of the home, driver's license and proof of income when they apply. If they are approved, they are signed up that day and receive food immediately, for a one year period. If approved, you may add two people who could pick up commodities for you, if you are unavailable to do so.
"We also have a program for the senior citizens (60 and over) who meet financial requirements. Seniors get an extra box, in addition to the CSFP (Commodities supplementary food package). The packages are given out once a month.
"We are one pantry, but we have two different locations we serve. When we receive donations, they go into one division, Oregon County Food Pantry," said Wrenfrow. Larry and Beverly Harris are the project directors in Thayer, and Larry and Daisy Simmons are the project directors in Alton. If anyone is interested in helping with the food pantry or have questions about qualifications, contact Wrenfrow at the Oregon County Health Department at (417) 778-7450.
The Oregon County Food Pantry has recently worked closely with the Hands of Hope Kitchen, which opened on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Thayer. At its monthly distribution, information was handed out about the kitchen. We are excited because I think this will help a lot. We see a lot of hunger around here. Even though we distributed food recently, we'll have to help people out before the next one," Wrenfrow said.
Anyone donating to the pantries receives a tax deduction form.