By SHERI GASSAWAY
Visitors to the Arnold Food Pantry’s newly remodeled thrift store will encounter more of a boutique shopping experience, thanks to the support of many union contractors, union members, local businesses and organizations and the community.
The thrift store recently held a grand re-opening ceremony, which showcased new flooring, lighting, paint, shelving, clothing racks and other fixtures. Additionally, a new roof and HVAC system were installed for the pantry and thrift store and the parking lot was freshly paved.
“We couldn’t have done this without the continued support of our union brothers and sisters and generous donors and volunteers,” said Phil Amato, president of the Arnold Food Pantry and Thrift Store’s Board of Directors.
Amato said he hoped that by making the store more aesthetically pleasing, it would draw more customers. He said donations, fundraisers and sales from the thrift store are the key ways money is raised for the food pantry, and the thrift store is the pantry’s one constant source of revenue.
Some of the union contractors that provided free or discounted services for the remodel included Flooring Systems, Geissler Roofing, Scott-Lee Heating & Cooling and Spencer Contracting and Budrovich Heavy Equipment.
Others who donated money, supplies or volunteer work were Arnold Lowe’s, Missouri American Water, the Arnold Tourism Commission, Tom Bourgeois, the newest food pantry board member, and Mike Bock, owner of Arnold Printing.
SUPPORTED BY LOCAL UNIONS
When the pantry moved to its new location at 2024 Key West Drive in Arnold in 2012, local unions, their members and contractors donated $280,000 in cash, work and materials. It was one of the Jefferson County Labor Club’s largest projects ever undertaken at a time when unemployment among union members was at an all-time high.
Since then, support from local unions, including cash donations, free materials and volunteer work, has continued on a regular basis. Amato said he couldn’t be more grateful. “Without the help of labor, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” he said.
The thrift store carries a variety of new and gently used merchandise, including: clothing, shoes, and accessories; housewares, home décor items; collectibles; furniture and appliances; toys, games and bicycles; books, CDs and videos; holiday items; greeting cards; and party supplies.
The thrift store is located in the same building as the Arnold Food Pantry at 2024 Key West Drive – behind the gas station off Highway 141 and Old Lemay Ferry Road. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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).