The Palmyra Food Pantry getting the squeeze

The Palmyra Food Pantry has more space to serve more people since they moved into a new location earlier this year.

But the problem they're facing now is how to balance their finances to make sure they can have enough food on the shelves for the people in need and also making sure they enough money to pay the rent and the utilities.

Sharon Wommack is one of the volunteers who has managed the operation for the last eight years and she said the money the pantry spends every month is on items they don't get from the food banks in Peoria Illinois or Columbia Missouri.

The food pantry spends money on personal care items like shampoo, soap, detergent and personal hygiene products.

Wommack said they've made cuts and could be making more cuts.

"And we've had to cut back on several things and we'll just have to keep cutting back on what we can buy to fill in the normal things that we have. We'll have to go with the commodities more.

It has better access for clients and there's more room for food," Wommack said.

Last month, the pantry served 295 families and Wommack said eight years ago when they firs took over the operation they were serving about 15 families a week, now that number is along the lines of 50 to 60 families a week

The average cost of rent and utilities the food pantry has to pay is about $1,000.

So the pantry decided to approach the city about some possible support, but an opinion from the city attorney put a damper on that request.

"He stated there have been some cases in Missouri fairly recently regarding the use of public funds for like private causes and his advice was that using taxpayer money for stuff like that, we shouldn't do it, Palmyra Mayor Loren Graham said.

Wommack and the other volunteers who run the food pantry say they'll continue with their mission, but that they still may have to make more cuts to make sure they have food on the shelves. They're hoping that the community will respond with help and that the pantry isn't left in the dark.

If you'd like to help, you can contact Wommack at 573-406-2528 or stop by the Food Pantry on Tuesday's from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Wommack also said financial donations can be dropped off at the Exchange Bank in Palmyra.