The Jackson Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry celebrated its move to 417 Washington Street in Jackson during an open house event on Sept. 29.
The food pantry, which was previously located at First Baptist Church of Jackson, serves residents in Cape Girardeau County that live outside of the city limits of Cape Girardeau.
Jackson Ministerial Alliance President Sam Roethemeyer said the move, which took place in March 2020, has allowed the food pantry to store and distribute more food. Roethemeyer said they delayed celebrating the opening of the new location due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roethemeyer said he hopes the new location will give the food pantry more visibility in the community and help those who need assistance find the food pantry.
“We now have a greater opportunity to serve the people of our community because the need is great,” Roethemeyer said, adding that many people lost their jobs during the pandemic and are in need of assistance. “It’s a really unique place where we can offer these gifts to others,” he said.
The food pantry is open on Monday mornings from 9-11 a.m., Monday afternoons from 1-3 p.m. and Thursday afternoons from 1-3 p.m. Individuals can receive food every 30 days.
Social Security cards are required for all individuals listed in a household, as well as a photo ID and a current utility bill or other document with the family’s current address.
Individuals are able to select the food items they would like off of a list based on the family size. They can then select extra food items that are located in the waiting area while volunteers pack the food orders.
“We are here to help people get better,” Roethemeyer said. “We are here to help people get on their feet again and become more responsible in being able to take care of their financial or spiritual need, as well as their food needs.”
The new location has given both volunteers and families waiting for food more room, which Roethemeyer said allowed the food pantry to adhere to social distancing requirements. In addition, the facility has a dedicated restroom, unlike the previous location.
Roethemeyer added that the food pantry is now able to accept larger donations because they have additional space. For instance, families are currently able to receive cases of soda donated by Coca-Cola.
Roethemeyer thanked the many volunteers from area churches who give their time and effort to keep the continued operation of the food pantry possible, as well as those who donate food and funds to the food pantry.
“We receive the gracious, loving contributions of the people that freely give it to us, and we appreciate everyone – from the schools to various organizations throughout Jackson to donate to the food pantry,” Roethemeyer said. “The whole community of Jackson gives without us even asking.”
Roethemeyer also thanked Paul Emmendorfer, the building’s owner, and his family for getting them into the new location. “We would not have been able to secure this building without working with them,” Roethemeyer said. “That was a very huge gift on their part.”
Volunteers remodeled the new location, which was previously warehouse space next door to Emmendorfer’s Braswell Water Systems at 415 Washington Street.