Peace Pantry set to open new facility with volunteers that logged over 17K hours this year

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CEDAR HILL, MO (KPLR) - Carolejean O`Shea has been helping fill grocery bags since 1997 at the Peace Pantry in Cedar Hill.

'Usually what I do now is stock the shelves and help many others,' says Carolejean O`Shea, 19 year volunteer.  'We mark, stock and then figure out how much we have and how much we can give out.'

She`s one of 67 volunteers who help the pantry that helps others stay one step ahead of the growing need.

'Last year we logged over 15,000,' says Robert Hanners, Director of Operations & Volunteer.  'This year we`re already over 17,000 volunteer hours.'

What makes them stand out are the standup citizens giving of their time, and like most food pantry`s in the bi-state region, there`s a bigger demand every year.

'Every pantry needs your help,' says Linda Schroeder, President Peace Pantry Board & Volunteer.  'They need canned goods, they need cereal, and they need fruit.  That`s how you can help your local pantry.'

The Peace Pantry began 30 years ago by a group of women volunteers providing, clothing, dental care, school supplies and moral support.

Saturday they`ll celebrate the opening of this new 10,000 square foot facility paid for by a $350,000 grant through the Jefferson Memorial Community Foundation.

'People have a heart to help each other in this community, not just volunteers but this community is big hearted,' says Hanners.

Currently the pantry helps 154 local families each week.

'We do part of House Springs, Cedar Hill, Ditmer, Grubbville and part of Londell,' says Schroeder.

Pitching in, to give back to their community.

'I`ve always been an advocate for giving,' says O`Shea.  'That`s what you do, that`s what God put you here for.'