North County Labor Club helps keep Food Pantry doors open

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A HELPING HAND – To help keep the doors open at the Ritenour Co-Care Food Pantry, North County Labor Club President Fred Searcy (center) and Secretary (and former president) Frank Schuette (left), both members of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, presented a $1,000 donation to the food pantry’s Executive Director John Minard.

By MARY ANN O’TOOLE HOLLEY 
Correspondent

Overland, MO – Unions and their members come to the aid of organizations in need all the time without seeking credit.

One recent example is the North County Labor Club, coming to the rescue of the Ritenour Co-Care Food Pantry, which serves some 2,000 people in 550 families in Overland and was at risk of shutting its doors due to lack of funding and volunteers.

“It was just like a funeral around here,” said former executive director Rev. Marsha Brown, who is now the pantry’s training director and a member of the board of directors. “It looked like the end of the road; the patrons were devastated.”

When the word of the pantry’s crisis got out, North County Labor Club was one of the first to step up with a $1,000 donation – part of the more $53,000 that was ultimately donated by concerned citizens. More than a dozen people also came forward as volunteers, bringing the pantry’s crew of compassionate helpers to more than 60.

“I am very appreciative of support from people who live in work around Ritenour School District and in particular donations from union members,” Executive Director John Minard said. “Their donations and volunteer efforts, and those of so many others, have helped stabilize our finances so we can continue to support our community.

“We’re all just one catastrophe away in our lives of being in the same boat needing help,” Minard said. “People who have empathy for those down on their luck invigorates our efforts.”

YOU CAN HELP TOO

If you want to help, donations can be made to Ritenour Co-Care Food Pantry at 9516 (Rear) Lackland Rd, Overland MO 63114. To schedule a food drop off or volunteer, call the pantry at 314-427-7204.

A TRADITION OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

This is just one example of the many ways members of the North County Labor Club help in their communities.

Club members also recently stepped up to help at the Florissant and Holy Trinity Food Banks.

And earlier this year, retired club president Dick Kellett Sr. and Vice President Tim Rone donated their time and organized other club members to perform landscaping and plant flowers at the Shrine of St. Joseph ahead of the annual Workers Memorial Day service.

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