Your Northern Turner County Food Pantry

The Northern Turner County Food Pantry located at the courthouse in Parker is close to having a completely new look. For those of you who have been in the room before, you know it’s an understatement to say that it needed updating. For those of you who have never been there, the windowless room is roughly 18x18 in size with one fluorescent light running across the ceiling. The bottom half of the walls were covered in brown paneling, which made the room dark. The top half of the walls was covered in white ceiling tiles. Shelving was limited on the South and half of the West walls with little space for convenient storage, and the yellow-green carpet was threadbare and stained. Not to mention, the room was starting to take on a bad smell. Before the food pantry occupied the space, it was used by state radio and emergency management, so many of the wires and cables had been left behind.

After the first bread/pastry give-away in October, 2012, volunteers passionately expressed a desire to give the pantry a new look. A look that was inviting to the patrons who used the service, and one that the volunteers would appreciate working in while so generously donating their time. In January, 2013, remodeling began. Pastor Don and his daughters assisted with moving all the food from the room into out-of-the-way corners and hallways. He also helped Bill pull the carpet up. Randy Miller with maintenance at the courthouse removed the excess wiring and cables and helped with getting the room prepped. Ordell Oswald used his commercial sprayer to paint the room Berlin Green, which was the color chosen by Barb Erickson from the Baptist Church. Soon after, Bill Aeschlimann and Julie Anderson painted the shelving an off-white. Chris Wirt picked nice, brown carpeting that has enough business in it to not show dirt. Ken, Faye and Darren Hay installed it in March. Ron Schmidt from the Catholic Church constructed two new sets of shelves for the North and East walls, and with Bill’s assistance, those have been mounted. Money for an upright freezer has been donated, so once the rest is complete, that will be purchased and put in. The makeover is almost a complete reality! Please take the time to stop by and take a look at the progress. It has all truly been a work of God!

As the bread give-away gains momentum, many inquiries have been made about who the food pantry serves and who is eligible to use its services. Everyone! It’s for everyone who feels that they need a little extra boost to make it through a financial struggle. A person may need to utilize the food pantry for just one month or for several months. No financial information is requested. No forms need to be completed for approval. The patrons decide for themselves if they would like to come and be served. Some examples are those who might have an unexpected medical circumstance. It’s well documented that medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in our country. Another example might be an unforeseen auto breakdown or a need for a new water heater. Winter doesn’t seem to want to end this year, so maybe the heat bill is a bit higher than a person can afford. An unexpected layoff is another example. It’s for those on fixed incomes who run into having more month than they do money. Whatever the reason, the food pantry is an option for those who are deciding whether to buy food or pay the rent, food or lights, food or gas, etc. The food pantry can offset some of the financial burden of a financial pitfall.

Throughout this process, volunteers continue to ask what they can do to help. Many weren’t able to assist with the remodel itself due to physical or time restraints, but the pantry needs ongoing support. Say prayers that the patrons will see better financial days, that volunteers will continue to lend their time during the hours the pantry is open, and that the food and monetary donations continue so this service can remain a success. Food drives are always welcome. Throw an extra item or two in your cart while you are shopping and leave it in the tub in the Narthex. The goal is to create a brighter day for both the givers and the receivers of the pantry, which can be accomplished with even the smallest of gestures.

A special thanks to Gerry Schnabel for following her heart and pursuing the partnership with Feeding South Dakota to make the bread give-away a success. From this, the food pantry has also been opened one evening a month to serve those who aren’t able to make it during the day. This all led to the desire to make the needed updates to the pantry room. A special thanks to Bill Aeschlimann for directing the remodeling efforts and making sure that all projects were executed in a timely manner. Thanks Bill for your painting skills, carpentry work, hauling, carrying, moving, etc. (I promised Bill that I wouldn’t tell Karol how handy he is—he didn’t want extra honey-dos at home, so please keep it hush if you talk to her.)

Finally, a huge round of applause for all those who have given their time, talents, and monetary donations to this cause. That thanks is extended to anyone who offered to help (there have been so many), but wasn’t able, to those that offered their prayers and kind words, and to those who will be helping in the future.

Needs Listpeanut buttermacaroni & cheesespaghetti noodlesspaghetti saucehamburger helpertuna helpercanned vegetablescanned soupshygiene packs
Any donations, either tangible or monetary is greatly appreciated.
Checks can be made out to Turner County Food Pantry and mailed to

PO Box 123, Parker SD 57053

If you have tangible food items to donate, please leave it at church and it will be brought to the Food Pantry.