By Dennis Minich
As a charitable operation, the need for fundraising for the Shepherd’s Staff Food Pantry is not that uncommon. Normally, the money raised is used for food pur-chases which can then be distributed to those in need locally. But now the pantry is looking to raise funds for a new need, keeping the facility operating.
According to Bonnie Bauer who heads up the pantry, the facility learned recent-ly one of its largest benefactors would not be providing funds this year or may-be into the future. She said Harrisonville Walmart has traditionally contributed about $6,000 per year, which is some-where between 25 and 50 percent of the pantry’s operating budget.
“We don’t really know why, we were just told they would be cutting out the contribution,” Bauer said. “It really eats into our operating budget. Regardless of the food contributions, if you can’t pay your electric bill or your water bill, you are out of business.”
Bauer said there is no ill will at the Walmart store.
“They are still very good to us. We get food and we have a lot of volunteers. But
suddenly we have to find a way to make up for the $6,000,” she said.
The pantry did receive a $400 donation from the city of Harrisonville when city employees manned food and donation drives at Walmart and Price Chopper on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Birthday.
There currently is not a manager at the Harrisonville Walmart store. Inquiries about the change in contributions were referred to the corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Calls to the head-quarters were not returned by deadline.
The mortgage for the pantry and some of the operational expenses are provided by the Harrisonville Ministerial Alliance. Director David Noble said many church-es stepped up during the holidays to help with the alliance’s needs, but noted in cases like the food pantry, changes in revenue can be hard to make up.
“They always operate on a tight budget from year to year. Anytime you lose a source of revenue, it can create a variety of problems,” Noble said.
Bauer said the pantry is still operating normally at this point, but raising funds
will become critical.
“Right now, our monthly operating costs are exceeding our operational in-come. That can’t last,” she said.
She noted the pantry has remained busy, still providing food to about 1,000 individuals every month.
A fundraiser has been planned to help the pantry. A “Serve It Up” volleyball
tournament is planned for April 6 at Har-risonville High School. The cost for a team is $120 and the registration deadline is March 30. To enter a team, call or text Christian at 913-908-4273.
Food and monetary donations will also be accepted at the door. Games start at 9 a.m. and will run throughout the day.
Bauer said this is the first time she can remember a fundraiser has been held to help the pantry with operating expenses.