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Tiffany Springs Senior Living resident creates food pantry to honor late wife

Ernie Martel Food pantry
Posted at 5:49 PM, Sep 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-15 19:17:15-04

NORTHMOOR, Mo. — There's a new community food pantry in Northmoor for those in need thanks to a Tiffany Springs Senior Living resident with a big heart.

Ernie Martel came up with the idea to honor his late wife, June, who passed away nearly two years ago of Alzheimer's.

Martel said June was always a giving person.

"I thought what better way to honor her memory than to erect something like this and just try to help the community out," Martel said.

Before going through with the project, which he calls his new passion, Martel reached out to other residents at Tiffany Springs to see if they'd be willing to donate items.

"The first week that I asked them for donations, I got six grocery bags crammed full," Martel said.

He asked the Northmoor Mayor's office for permission to build the pantry on City Hall property. His son built the structure and his daughter-in-law put several phrases on the pantry such as "To honor June," "Take what you need," and "Leave what you can."

Martel said he picked the location because it's near low-income housing.

He wants his project to inspire others to give back to their communities. His plan is already working.

"I'd love to have one just like that at some other needy spot in the Northland here," Tiffany Springs resident Don Varney said.

Varney said Martel has that special something that makes others want to get involved in whatever he's doing.

"His projects are all for other people so it's kind of an easy sell I think," Varney said.

Martel said June would be proud of what he's done. He'll always be grateful to his Tiffany Springs family for helping bring his idea to life.

"Words can't express how I feel about what they've done," Martel said. "I love all of you, I love all of you."