Gift to food pantry offers cheer to union members who built it

HOLIDAY CHEER: The Alexandra Ballet is performing The Nutcracker Dec. 7 at Rickman Auditorium in Arnold. Proceeds will benefit the union-built Arnold Food Pantry.

Arnold, MO – A gift to the Arnold Food Pantry from Arnold City Councilman Phil Amato will provide some holiday cheer to the union members who helped build it.

“If there are any out of work union members that would like to take their family to see the Nutcracker ballet, I will give them the tickets free on a first-come-first-serve basis,” Amato said.

The Arnold Food Pantry, at 2024 Key West Dr., is the largest non-denominational food pantry in the St. Louis area that receives no government assistance.

Amato, a member of the Jefferson County Labor Club and the food pantry’s board of directors, has been saving his salary as Ward 3 Councilman for the past several months and has used it to buy 250 tickets to the Alexandra Ballet’s presentation of The Nutcracker Sunday, Dec. 7, at Rickman Auditorium. Proceeds from the performance will benefit the food pantry, but Amato is making the tickets available to out of work union members and their families at no charge.

Rickman Auditorium is located at 747 Jeffco Blvd. on the Fox School Campus in Arnold.



When the pantry and thrift store, which serves families in the Arnold, Imperial Barnhart and unincorporated Fenton area, moved to its current location in 2012, local unions donated more than $280,000 worth of labor, cash and coordinated donations of materials from their affiliate contractors to renovate a former warehouse distribution center for the pantry and thrift store.

When the metal roof of the building, which was not replaced at the time of the renovation due to cost considerations, began leaking water into the building earlier this year, Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 and Painters and Allied Trades District Council 58 stepped up with the Arnold Lowe’s to make the repairs.

“Organized Labor has been very good to me over the years, and I have done my best to show appreciation by always fighting for the rights of hard working families,” Amato said. “The Arnold Food Pantry has been the recipient of not only volunteer labor but also building materials for their massive renovation of the new headquarters. The economy, however, has hit many Labor families hard, especially the Building Trades.”

That’s why Amato said he decided to double his gift giving with a donation to the food pantry that would also benefit union members.


“When the 250 tickets are gone they are gone,” Amato said. “But I would like so much to help the people that have always stood shoulder to shoulder with me when I am on the Arnold City Council ballot.

“It has been a pretty rough couple of years for a lot of these folks, and I hope this will help them enjoy the holidays a little better with their families.”


If you’d like tickets, simply email Amato with a request for up to five tickets at

The tickets will be waiting for you in your name at the Rickman Auditorium Box Office.

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Help the food pantry

Arnold Food Pantry CroppedThe Arnold Food Pantry & Thrift Store, at 2024 Key West Dr. in Arnold, is the largest non-denominational food pantry in the St. Louis area, and receives no government assistance.

Donations are welcome, appreciated and tax deductible.

As a bonus for a $50 dollar donation, you will receive four free tickets to the performance of Nutcracker at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Rickman Auditorium.

For a $100 dollar donation, you will receive six free tickets and your name listed in the program, while ensuring that a less fortunate family in our community won’t have to go hungry.

Visit for more information on how to make a donation.

Additional tickets for the Nutcracker are on sale at the Arnold Recreation Center at 636-282-2380, and at the Arnold Food Pantry Thrift Store,

2024 Key West Drive, 636-287-3663.


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