The Lincoln County Cupboard is gearing up for a busy new year.
“In 2013 we served 3,172 families and 12,700 individuals,” said Harriet Serles, vice-president of the cupboard. “Of course that takes in all of Lincoln County.”
The cupboard’s service area is generally restricted to the confines of Lincoln County, but they also have permission to serve some people in the Eolia and Clarksville areas because there isn’t a closer USDA pantry to provide for those individuals.
“The majority of the Lincoln County residents we serve come from Elsberry and Troy,” said Serles. “However, we also get people from Moscow Mills, Hawk Point, Truxton, Silex, Old Monroe and Foley as well.”
The cupboard receives food from a St. Louis area USDA food bank, as well as from Operation Food Search.
The remainder of the food that comes in is the result of donations from individuals, various organizations and the school.
The cupboard also has an operating budget that allows them to buy some of the food themselves.
“We expect all of that to continue in 2014,” said Serles. “The only thing that will change is the price of the food we purchase ourselves. The cost of everything is going up.”
To combat the increase in the cost of living, the cupboard is going to attempt to raise more money this year.
There is a trivia night scheduled for March 29 at the Elsberry American Legion Hall, as well as a fall event that will take place at the VFW Hall.
“We’ve got both ends of town covered,” said Cecile Mesker, president of the cupboard.
Both events will feature a silent auction.
In addition to these more traditional fundraising methods, the cupboard also applies for grants on an annual basis and often goes right to the people for help.
“People always know if there’s a need for more money because that’s when they see us standing down on the corner collecting,” said Mesker.
According to Serles, those efforts can sometimes raise as much as $100 an hour.
“When you tell them it’s for the pantry people seem to want to give just a little more,” said Serles. “Some people think its just change but it adds up.”
Serles said she’s used to that kind of support from this community.
“The community has been very supportive,” said Serles. “The churches, organizations and individuals have all been quite helpful and that’s what has allowed us to stay open.”
That support isn’t just limited to money.
“We also have a great group of volunteers and we couldn’t run this pantry without them,” said Serles.
That aside, the cupboard is always in need of more volunteers, particularly males due to the need for heavy lifting.
Anyone interested in assisting can contact Harriett Serles at (573) 898-2786 or Pat and Cecile Mesker at (636) 577-0557.
“They don’t even have to call,” said Serles. “They can just stop by the pantry on any Thursday at 9:30 a.m.”
Although the rough economy may make things at the cupboard a little more difficult, Serles and Mesker don’t plan to lose focus or change their goals.
“We want to continue to serve our clients as best we can and improve their quality of life,” said Serles.