Pay It Forward – Cahokia woman spearheads effort to open new food pantry

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CAHOKIA, Ill. – Ever heard the phrase, “stop complaining and do something”? Well, a Cahokia woman heard the complaints after the closing of a food pantry and led the effort to start a new one.

Once a client at the Cahokia Community Basket, Renee Kent now volunteers for the group. She’s seen firsthand just how hard Kim Diers works every day, gives her own time, gives her own money, and organizes the food donations to make sure everyone in need gets food in St. Clair County.

When the City of Cahokia forced a charity food pantry to move out of a city-owned building in 2015, many were left wondering where their next meal would come from. Diers stepped up and led the effort to find another location.

"The reason I got involved was because in 2015 I was at a board meeting and the food pantry was shut down. There was a lot of us that didn't like that, so we all got together and it was either sit around and complain about it or we can work together and try and reopen and that's what we did," Diers said.

In less than five months, Diers got the pantry up and running again in a building donated by the Knights of Columbus.

"I never realized the need until I started volunteering here. You know, we have a lot of our families that are people who work and after the time they pay their bills, they can’t afford groceries," she said.

Renee surprised Kim with Fox 2’s Pay It Forward award and a $500 gift card from First Bank.

Our Pay It Forward award is brought to you by First Bank. If you know of a deserving person you would like to nominate for the award, go to and look for the Pay It Forward page.

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