AFP Thrift Store to get updated look thanks to union contractor, major donation

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: The Arnold Food Pantry and Thrift Store will be closed for renovations in July. The pantry is in need of volunteers to move everything in the building out so new flooring can be installed. – Labor Tribune photo
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: The Arnold Food Pantry's Thrift Store will be closed for renovations in July. The pantry is in need of volunteers to move everything in the building out so new flooring can be installed. – Labor Tribune photo

Subhead: Store will be closed in July while undergoing renovations

By SHERI GASSAWAY

Correspondent

When the Arnold Food Pantry’s Thrift Store reopens in August, it will boast a new 3,000-square-foot tile floor courtesy of Flooring Systems and the Floor Layers Joint Apprenticeship Program.

Flooring Systems, a union shop with locations in South County, Farmington and Springfield, Mo., is donating the tile, and floor layers in the apprenticeship program will install the material. The company provides both residential and commercial flooring products and services.

This is not the first time Flooring Systems has stepped up to the plate for the food pantry. When the pantry moved to its new location at 2024 Key West Drive in 2012, the company donated and installed all the carpeting for the thrift store. After four years, the carpeting has seen better days.

“We’re happy to do it,” said Ron Komlos, the company’s owner. “It’s our way of giving back to the community.”

After the flooring is complete, new fixtures will be installed throughout the store. The fixtures were made possible through a generous donation from Tom Bourgeois, the newest food pantry board member.

“We’re hoping that by making the store more aesthetically pleasing, it will draw more customers,” said Phil Amato, president of the food pantry board. “Donations, fundraisers and sales from the thrift store are the only way we raise money for the pantry, and the thrift store is our one constant source of revenue.”

OneDayDentures.7-7-16VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

Before any renovations are made at the store, everything in it will have to be moved out. It’s a major effort, and many volunteers will be needed during the first couple of days in July. If you would like to help, call the food pantry at 636-287-FOOD (3663).

LOCAL UNIONS CONTINUE SUPPORT

When the pantry moved to its new location in 2012, local unions, their members and contractors donated $280,000 in cash, work and materials. It was one of the club’s largest projects ever undertaken at a time when unemployment among union members was at an all-time high.

Since then, help from local unions, including cash donations, free materials and volunteer work, has continued to roll in. Amato said he couldn’t be more grateful. “Without the help of labor, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said

Most recently, members from Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 installed a new faucet for sanitizing trash cans outside of the pantry. The job involved running a line from one end of the building to the other and installing the faucet through a block wall.

And more volunteer work is on the horizon. Members from the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council will install maintenance-free wall board; members from Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 will provide help with a new walk-in cooler; and members from Painters District Council 58 will paint the existing coolers.

ABOUT THE ARNOLD FOOD PANTRY

The Arnold Food Pantry, which serves residents in Arnold and portions of Fenton and Imperial, is the largest non-denominational food distribution center in the St. Louis region that does not receive city, state or federal government funding. It feeds about 320 families each week.

For more information on the events or to make a donation, visit wefeedthehungry.org or call 636-287-FOOD (3663).

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