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O’Fallon food pantry needs donations

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O'FALLON, MO (KTVI)-- When Heide Runge heard the Salvation Army needed help, she and her sister pooled their money and loaded her trunk.

"There are so many poor people out there," says Heide Runge.  "Now I'm going to try.  But yeah, there are so many poor people and we said, 'God I couldn't imagine not having food on my table.''

This week, the O'Fallon, Missouri Salvation Army pantry found themselves in a bit of a pickle.

"The shelves right behind us were empty on Monday," says Salvation Army spokesman Major Paul Ferguson.  "They were empty on Tuesday.  Because Tuesday we were thinking, 'Oh boy we're in trouble and we're going to maybe have to shut down this week later on.'"

But Friday instead of turning people away, bags of groceries were turning up as some had heard through social media the Salvation Army needed some help.

"We were seeing 45 to 50 maybe a high of 60 families a month two years ago," says Ferguson.  "Right now we're running between 350 and 400 families that come through here in the month."

Major Paul Ferguson says each month this worship and community center is seeing 25 to 40 new families in need of assistance.

"Cause they used to have enough that they would share extra with their neighbors in need and now they have become those same neighbors in need," says Ferguson.  "They have to come to the place they used to help to get help."

In June this pantry was replete with 20,000 pounds of food items donated from business and individuals.

But by august those provisions had dwindled to just 4,000 pounds.

"We eat every day and so year round we need food donated weekly," says Ferguson.

Ferguson estimates this location needs about 100 grocery carts full of food donations per week to meet the demand.

This is why Heide Runge and her sister pitched in.

"I'll sleep better, yeah because I did my part and my sister did her part," says Runge.