The News Tribune features Catholic Charities Food Pantry Grand Opening

By Joe Gamm | March 26, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Attendance for the grand opening of the Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri food pantry blew expectations out of the water.

Organizers said they anticipated serious interest in the event, which also featured a community resource fair.

As it neared and more and more agencies said they wanted to be involved, the thought grew — the event could be something special, said Dan Lester, the local Catholic Charities’ executive director.

Before Catholic Charities opened its doors Friday morning, people started arriving. They continued to line up.

Hundreds of people filled the Catholic Charities building at 1015 Edmonds St.

“I’m blown away by the turnout so far,” Lester said soon after the doors were open. “We anticipated that we would see a good crowd. This beats my wildest expectations of the number of people coming through at one time.

“This was the vision. I just love what this says about this community. Look at all these different providers who have come here to complete one another, not compete with one another.”

If Catholic Charities can be a bridge-builder, it’s a role the nonprofit would cherish, he said.

“That feels really good. It’s really rewarding,” Lester said.

As Lester spoke, about 100 people milled about in a large community room in the building. They stopped to learn what resources vendors at 28 tables offered.

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