Awarded $3,500 Operation Round Up grant
On a chilly winter day, vehicles line up outside of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry in Wentzville. Inside, volunteers are busy filling boxes with an assortment of canned foods, produce and more.
Each week, the routine is the same.
“In a normal week, we will have at least 40 families come through the pantry,” volunteer Diane Goertz said.
And when the volunteers aren’t helping provide food, they are helping with utility assistance or hotels for the homeless. The need never goes away.
“We continuously get new clients in so we see that growing,” Goertz said. “I think our need is growing mostly with utility assistance and homelessness.”
The Cuivre River Electric Community Trust Board recently awarded a $3,500 Operation Round Up grant to St. Vincent de Paul, located at 230 W. 4th St., west of St. Patrick Catholic Church. The funds will be used to help purchase food for the pantry, utility assistance and hotel rooms for the homeless people.
Grant funds come from Cuivre River Electric Cooperative members who voluntarily pay the round up amount on their monthly electric bill.
Volunteers said the money will help the organization continue to help as many people as possible.
“This is awesome, unbelievable,” Goertz said. “We constantly stay on the edge of needing money and food.”
Last year, St. Vincent de Paul helped more than 5,300 people, the majority of them from St. Charles County. Some of those requiring assistance were living in their car or sleeping in a park.
The donations and volunteer hours the organization receives from church members and others are crucial. The nonprofit group spends around $1,800 each month to help keep the pantry’s shelves stocked with food, more in the summer months when area food drives are not being held. Oftentimes, that leads to a budget shortfall.
But help comes in many different forms. Goertz recalled one instance where a seven-year-old girl urged her friends to donate toothbrushes, toothpaste and soap in place of birthday presents.
“She donated everything from her birthday to the pantry,” Goertz said.
The food pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday and Thursday and from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. For more information or to make a donation, contact St. Vincent de Paul at 636-327-8787.
Operation Round Up helps address needs in the areas of health, education, home weatherization, youth, community and emergency services that cannot be met with other resources. More than $5 million has been awarded to applicants since the Operation Round Up program began in 1997.