The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

May 7, 2009

Area churches, pantries extend helping hands to those hit by economy

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Despite needs created by the economic downturn, only a few people took advantage of a free breakfast and groceries offered Thursday by the Carthage Ministerial Alliance.

But the dozens of bags of groceries collected for the event were headed to those in need via Fairview Christian Church, which has started a food pantry in response to needs that members have seen in connection with the economy.

Two residents who showed up for the breakfast and groceries were Forest Buck and Barry Clark.

Buck said he gets Social Security, but he wants a part-time job and has been unable to get one. He said he did get a small increase in Social Security, but it was wiped out by higher costs for health care.

“It helps, because everything is so expensive,” he said of Thursday’s breakfast.

Clark said he is on disability after an on-the-job accident two years ago. He said he can’t get a job because of those injuries, so he is grateful for the help offered Thursday.

“It helps,” he said.

A Bible study group at Fairview Christian Church started the food pantry at the church about six months ago, said Tony Allmoslecher, pastor.

“They saw the need and started giving away food each Thursday,” he said. “Now they’re doing it on Wednesday too. Each week, they’ve had more and more, and now they’re feeding over 200 families.”

A food pantry started several years ago at the Carthage Nazarene Church is seeing the need for food assistance increase, a church spokesman said. Requests for food also are growing at the pantry operated by Carthage Crosslines, according to Beth Lown, director.

With a slowing economy and higher food costs, she said, people “who have never asked for assistance are now asking for help.”

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Carthage, Jasper County