JeffCo Labor Club honors Arnold Food Pantry director for service to union families

FOR HELPING UNION MEMBERS IN NEED, Jefferson County Labor Club President Bart Velasco (left) presented Kathy Flanigan, former Arnold Food Pantry & Thrift Store executive director, with a plaque honoring her service to union members and their families. – Labor Tribune photo

By Sheri Gassaway

Arnold, MO – The Jefferson County Labor Club recently thanked Kathy Flanigan, former executive director of the Arnold Food Pantry & Thrift Store, for serving out-of-work union members and their families throughout the years.

Flanigan retired from her post in early June after nearly 30 years at the pantry, which serves northern Jefferson County. She was one of the driving forces in helping the pantry grow into the largest non-denominational food distribution center in the St. Louis area.

Club President Bart Velasco presented Flanigan with a plaque honoring her work at a June 25 retirement dinner. About 200 people attended the event at Immaculate Conception Catholic School in Arnold.

The plaque read: “During the worst economy since the Great Depression, Arnold Food Pantry Executive Kathy Flanigan played a significant role in feeding out-of-work union families throughout the Fox C-6 School District. Thank you from your friends at the Jefferson County Labor Club.”


Arnold City Councilman Phil Amato, who serves on the food pantry’s board of directors and is a member of the Jefferson County Labor Club, approached the club in 2012 seeking help to renovate an old warehouse distribution center that would serve as the pantry’s new location at 2024 Key West Drive.

“We understood where Phil was coming from, and labor did what labor does best,” Velasco said at the dinner. “We helped take care of the people of the community.”

Local unions and their members donated $280,000 in cash, work and materials for the new pantry, Velasco said. 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.

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“Kathy has done more for this community than I can imagine,” he said. “She is a lady that should be remembered for a long time and deserves her time to be with her family.”


In addition to being acknowledged by the Jefferson County Labor Club, Flanigan received accolades from faith, city, county, state and federal leaders, including a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Flanigan said she retired to spend more time with her family. She said, “Many people have said I look better – more relaxed – since I have retired.”

The pantry, which receives no city, state or federal government funding, feeds about 320 families in Arnold and portions of Imperial and Fenton.

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