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Fill the Fridge: Harvesters, community help Mimi’s Pantry meet increased demand

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Posted at 8:30 AM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 18:24:56-04

RIVERSIDE, Mo. — Three days a week, the line is out the door at Mimi’s Pantry in Riverside.

Even though the pantry gives each client a specific “shopping” time slot, the line always forms early.

Mimi’s Pantry is a food pantry serving Clay and Platte counties that allows clients to “shop” through stocked shelves of canned, boxed and fresh foods to pick out what their families need.

The pantry has seen a record need with shopping appointments filled up every week.

To meet the increased demand, Mimi’s relies on Harvesters, a community food network serving 800 agencies in 26 counties throughout the Kansas City region.

Mimi’s also has seen its local community step up.

“It takes a village,” said Sharon Snowden, the director of business development at Mimi’s Pantry.

People have placed barrels on their front porches and organized food drives within their neighborhoods to collect food this year for Mimi’s Pantry.

“It really helps us out," Snowden said. "It really makes the pantry better. We have different things to choose from."

Through the Fill the Fridge campaign, an annual effort from KSHB 41 News that launched this week, more people in the community have a chance to help. The fundraiser collects donations online that allow Harvesters to buy perishable foods like dairy items, meats and produce.

Harvesters then supplies those food items to pantries like Mimi’s.

“Harvesters supplies us with so much of our food," Snowden said. "We really depend on them."

In turn, people like Tracy Smith depend on Mimi’s.

This summer, the 62-year-old widow visited the food pantry for the first time. She said inflated prices at the grocery store forced her hand, and she now visits Mimi’s every two weeks.

“It was hard to be in a place where I never had to ask for help and now I’m here needing help,” Smith said.