Pantry for Adair County presents new structure

The Pantry for Adair County held an open house Oct. 28 to showcase its new structure, which features a new walk-in freezer, walk-in cooler and shelter for clients to stand under during inclement weather.

The new structure is located next to the pantry’s existing structure at 2012 South Halliburton Street. This is the pantry’s first expansion since it moved to its current address in July 2018. 

PAC Board President Lisa Ahrens said planning for the new structure began in the spring and community volunteers built the structure in three weeks. The entire project cost $27,000 with the structure itself coming in at around $4,000 and the freezer and cooler totaling $23,000. Ahrens said a large majority of the cost was covered by Truman State University’s Greek Week fundraiser last April.

 PAC Operations Manager Sheila Swafford said the new structure will offer more space for the pantry to receive products from The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The freezer and cooler will help keep products like meat and produce fresh for longer.

The freezer and cooler sit at the back of the structure and the front is open space with a roof where people will be sheltered from rain, snow, extreme heat or other weather while they wait to enter the pantry. 

“Some people ask, ‘Why can’t we just wait inside,’ but it’s a fire code thing,” Ahrens said. “We can only have [a total of] 25 people in there.”

Swafford said the pantry serves over 400 households each month, which equates to more than 1,000 people. She said the goal of the open house was not just to showcase the new shelter, but to also showcase that the accomplishments of PAC have been a group effort.