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Arnold Food Pantry Buys 12,000 Square Foot Building

The non-profit's new building is twice the size of it current building.

Director Kathy Flanigan, and board members, announced that the non-profit purchased a new building on Key West Drive during a presentation at the Fox Service Center, 849 Jeffco Blvd., on Thursday, May 31, at 7 p.m.

The new building, which is under renovation, is about 12,000 square feet which twice the size of the charity's current location at 25 Village Plaza on the south side of Arnold, said Vern Sullivan, one of the charity's advocates.

The pantry feeds about 150 families weekly in Arnold, Imperial and the unincorporated area of Fenton.

"The new building will allow us to properly display all the thrift store products," Sullivan said.

The thrift store, company donations and money donations are the sole sources of financing for the Arnold Food Pantry. The organization is the largest non-denominational food pantry in the St. Louis area.

The non-profit accepts no money from city, county, state or federal government.

Food donated by , , , , , , Trader Joe's, Olive Garden, , and Starbucks all help to keep the pantry's shelves filled with food for hungry Jefferson County families.

The pantry's mortgage payments for the new building are less than half the cost of $4,400 monthly rent at the non-profit's current location, Flanigan said after the presentation. 

"We've already made two mortgage payments on the new building, it's $1,950," Flanigan said.

The pantry can help a lot more people with the money it saved from paying rent, Flanigan said.

Even with water, trash and electricity bills, Flanigan said the total cost of owning the building would be less than half of renting the pantry's current space.

The pantry's goal is to raise $450,000, within eight years, to pay for the building's mortgage and renovations.

The fundraising effort began Thursday night.

Flanigan said, since she became the non-profit's director in 2003 she had been building a fund to purchase a new building.

During the presentation, the public learned that the current building is cramped, dark and leaks water.

The new building still needs new plumbing, pipefitting, electrical systems, carpentry work, sheet metal work, painting and signs.

During the presentation, Flanigan said she was dismayed to hear that Arnold residents were eating catfood to cope in difficult times or lacked blue jeans needed for job interviews.

Flanigan said she felt responsible to help people in need.

Deb Amato, wife of Ward 3 Councilman Phil Amato, asked people to understand the need in the area while balancing their family finances. "Consider what your budget will allow."

"Helping one another through hard times and banding together will improve everyone's lives, Amato said.

The pantry recieved about $80,000 in money and in Union labor on Thursday night.

About 100 people attended the presentation.

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