REALTOR® Adam Kruse talked with Anne Arias, treasurer and volunteer at the Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry in Maplewood, about how the pantry manages to help so many needy people while operating out of the boiler room of a church. Find out how Coronavirus has left the pantry without volunteers or toiletries and what you can do to help.
If you like, you may send a tax deductible donation via check by making it out to Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and mailing it to 2934 Marshall Avenue Maplewood, MO 63143. You’ll receive a tax letter at the end of the year.
Email questions about the food pantry to firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our video of us dropping off items for this year.
0:30 What is the history of Immaculate Conception Church in Maplewood and what is Anne Arias’ role there?
0:42 Anne has lived in Maplewood for over 29 years and joined the church soon after she and her husband moved to the neighborhood.
1:10 Anne started volunteering at the food pantry 16 years ago
1:46 Four years ago Anne became the treasurer.
2:04 The food pantry is based out of the boiler room of Immaculate Conception Church in Maplewood, Missouri and is a part of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul which is a nationwide organization that connects with people in need.
2:44 A separate branch of The Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul Society is The Young Friends which does home visits and provides utility and rental assistance in the 63143 zip code
3:24 The food pantry serves anyone in 63143 area code. People don’t need to show proof of income but they can only come once a month. The church keeps a record because they don’t have enough supplies.
4:15 “Pantry” means they do not give out cooked meals.
4:33 The church has many partners. Aldi and Schnucks in Maplewood are grocery partners. The church receives frozen meat from Operation Food Search and the St. Louis Area Food Bank. The church is part of the USDA’s The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TFAP) which will give a really large box to people below a certain income level. The pantry also provides toiletries.
5:33 The types of people the church often sees are single men, the elderly, families, and the homeless. The pantry is meant to supplement the food and toiletries the people already have.
6:46 How do the grocery partners like the Maplewood Schnucks and Maplewood Aldi go the extra step to help the food pantry?
8:16 What are the different ways to donate? People can drop off non perishable items on Saturday mornings between 8 and 9 am. If people want to donate during the week, call food pantry volunteer Sandra Marks at 314-267-8483.
9:15 The easiest way to donate to the food pantry is to write a check to Immaculate Conception St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry and mail it to 2934 Marshall Avenue Maplewood, MO 63143. People who donate will receive a tax letter at the end of the year.
10:53 The last time Herman London donated items he found out 2 of the nuns volunteering taught at Adam’s highschool.
11:33 How do the discounts the food pantry gets work?
12:23 What has changed during Covid? Older volunteers are staying home. The pantry has gotten more organized so they are pre packing boxes during the week. There is no socializing on Saturdays during the hand out.
14:02 The pantry is not a grocery store but they previously accepted wish lists.
15:24 What items are needed the most? Chili, easy rice, macaroni and cheese, ramen, soup, toiletries, bar soap, toilet paper, and toothpaste.
16:38 The pantry really needs toiletries because the Girl Scouts have post poned their April Showers toiletry drive.
17:47 Even though it is not her focus, what does Anne know about The Young Friends program which does home visits and provides utility and rental assistance ?
19:08 Immaculate Conception participates in Twinning which is when they contact other churches that don’t have as big of a need and they share resources
19:30 Nick Imgrund (314-775-7364) is the president of the The Young Friends program which does home visits and provides utility and rental assistance in the 63143 zip code
20:09 How can Adam help people get financial literacy at the church?
21:51 The church always needs volunteers. Children should be at least 13 years old. Teenagers always come to get their community service hours.
23:58 People who are willing to wait outside for a box of groceries definitely need it.
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You know we’ve been doing our company food drive for a few years now and but this at this time we’re gonna try to make it more public and try to get more people to help donate you know and part of that is we just thought we’d make you know a video to help people understand what it’s all about great um so if you don’t mind just kind of give me a little bit of background on you and the church and kind of like you know how long have you been with the church and who are we helping in and all that kind of stuff sure so my name is Anne Arias and I’ve been a resident of Maplewood for almost 29 years now and so I joined Immaculate Conception Church you know pretty soon after my husband and I moved in and interestingly enough I initially volunteered at our food pantry probably close to 16 or 17 years ago just kind of as a real lightweight volunteer just showing up every once in a while on a Saturday I actually became the parish secretary I’m not the secretary anymore but I was the parish secretary for eight years and while I was there I got quite a bit more involved because I just was seeing more what the food pantry was doing who they were serving and so I became a more regular volunteer and then about four years ago I think it was I started I became the treasurer and started handling you know the financial end of it and we are a completely volunteer group of people we are based in the boiler room of Immaculate Conception Church but we are technically part of the Society of st. Vincent de Paul is a nationwide organization of people who you know use their spirituality and their faith to connect with people in need and so there’s a lot of ways that the st. Vincent de Paul provides that and most of it is through service like services through food pantries or rent or utility assistance or just help with getting furniture or things like that with people for people’s apartment so I specifically work with the food pantry portion of it we do have another branch of the Immaculate Conception st. Vincent de Paul Society which is called they’re young friends and they actually do home visits and they provide utility and rental assistance within our 63143 zip code as well so that’s another really cool thing that I don’t know that a lot of people know that’s happening but I actually only handle we’re two separate financial entities although we do share finances when we need like if we need each other but I just handle the food pantry portion of it okay so kind of shared how you guys I guess and I want it I want a little bit more about that but who are who are you serving we are serving anyone in the 63143 zip code that is in need and when I say anyone in need it’s really anyone it is on a you do not need to show proof of income so if you just on a Saturday are short on groceries you can come to our pantry and pick up food now we do have a couple well our main limit is that they can only come once a month so we do keep a record and that is only because we do not have enough supplies to serve the amount of people that we serve every single week so the way that our pantry works is they can only come twelve times a year okay and so forgive my ignorance but the word pantry you mainly means that it’s not like you’re not giving hot meals you’re giving them food to take home and cook yes we’re getting them groceries we give non perishables such as any sort of canned good or item but we’re also a really good pantry and that we always purchase bread our eggs milk and butter we get vegetables and bread from a lot of our grocery partners example all these and Schnucks here in Maplewood we also get frozen meat from other operation food search or st. Louis food bank and then we also are part of the USDA which is the federal government commodities program the tea fat program and so if you are below a certain income level you will also get a supplementary really large box of non-perishable items once a month that we get directly from the federal government okay yeah we provide toiletries – I forgot about that that’s really important I love that that’s such kind of a open-minded idea of saying anyone in need you know and and I that’s that’s a really noble cause the way you do that I think yeah you see kind of categories or people that are lost their jobs or are they homeless mainly or are they like it’s such a mess right now especially right now I mean we do get some homeless people and of course they’re a lot harder to serve because they’re basically carrying food around on their back so we can’t give him any sort of perishables we have regulars who’ve been coming once a month for a long time they’re just families or out we have a lot of elderly people a lot of single men just a lot of people in our community that are just not making enough to you know so this is where we consider ourselves like supplementing their what they’re bringing in either through an income a job or through Social Security or disability so we we also have families with small children and then kind of times during like crisis like this we’re getting you know two to three new families every week that are just showing up because they’re in need right now so okay cool and so there’s there’s a lot of people that help stuff yeah I guess you guys also this is kind of a two part of this question I guess you guys also buy food from the Maplewood Schnucks so at that schnucks and they’ll deliver it to you guys if people want to donate is that right um not really they don’t deliver to us right now basically what Sandra has been doing and Sandra is the one who runs the food pantry she’s the rock star she gets everything moving she will figure out what she thinks we need for the week and she’ll go up two Schnucks or even Aldi I mean all these where we typically used to go for bread or eggs milk and butter but right now they’re having a little more limits on what we can purchase there but so she will go up to Schnucks at the beginning of the week and say hey can you order for example thirty-six half gallons of milk for us that I’m gonna pick up on Friday and maybe this week we need mac and cheese or we need butter or you know whatever she thinks chili and then they will actually get it together and we can go up there well she usually goes up with a volunteer and a check and then she pays and they’ve got it all organized and ready for us so that’s been really wonderful okay okay interesting sorry I’m kind of looking over here the what okay so what is the I think that people are wanting to help and like I said this we you know our company has been doing a kind of an internal we really have our having like a food contest to see how you can donate the most stuff but we’re wanting to you know open it up to the public now and so we’re wondering what what ways can people help stop by there with a bag or a trunk full of groceries or yeah so really either way is fine I mean if you’re at the grocery store and you are you know just want to pick up a few extra items that we particularly like non-perishables are probably the better thing to get then we we would love those donations you can either drop them off Saturday morning our pantry opens you know between like eight and nine or sandra is there but we’re not like open a lot during the week sometimes there’s people there volunteering and stocking shelves but they probably would need to call probably the best thing to do if they want to do a drop-off is maybe call me ahead of time and I can make sure that there’s somebody there to collect their donation but probably the easiest way to donate is if people want to just write a check and then Sandra can go to the store and get whatever it is specifically we that we need for that week and if they want to write a check I’m just gonna say you write it to the Immaculate Conception st. Vincent de Paul food pantry I know that’s like a lot of words on the screen yeah okay so Immaculate Conception st. Vincent de Paul food pantry and they can mail their check to 2934 Marshall Avenue that is the actual church address Maplewood Missouri six three one four three and I go up once a week on Thursdays and I check the mail and I make deposits at Citizens Bank and so I make sure that our you know checks will get regularly deposited so yeah you guys happen to have any way to accept money like with venmo or paypal or anything like that we are not very sophisticated working out of a church basement right now so it’s literally the boiler room so for some of our especially now that we’re trying to social distance we you know are completely outside on saturdays we have everything organized and ready so people can just drive up and grab their box and go so yeah so you understand we’re pretty low tech totally I mean yes it’s kind of interesting when we you know we usually do some sort of big yearly kind of donation so it’s fun to show up it just feels so good to show up to truck full of stuff having to carry them all in there and that like and then they said figure out how to make it work and then yeah last time we were there we discovered that two of the nuns I guess that were volunteering there working there whatever work from they taught on my high school so I reckon yeah yeah let’s see I don’t want a minute I want to make sure I don’t miss any questions Oh has is it better to give stuff or money because are you able to buy things in a discount yes so through the st. Louis Food Bank we they have kind of like a grocery store and we are able to get on there although right now actually during covid nineteen that system is shut down but typically we are able to get on there on a regular basis and we can order like government commodities and all kinds of stuff for like pennies on the dollar so you could get like a pallet of chickens for some insanely low price so yes we are able to typically order things like that monies helpful there all right yes I guess I’m curious to ask a little bit on this covid situation is that chain obviously I’m yes maybe your lines are longer or what else has changed for you guys oh the big change is that we are running on a skeleton crew most of our volunteers have opted to stay at home which makes sense so we operate on a skeleton crew on Saturday mornings but the most exciting thing is that we’ve gotten a lot more organized so we are pre packing everything I like during the week or on Fridays so that when people come in whether they’re walking or in a vehicle we get them immediately signed in they cannot sign in we have to sign in for them now that they allowed us to do that and then we bring out the prepackaged boxes and the prepackaged perishables and send them on their way so we’re really not letting people stick around it’s typically if you’ve ever been there on a Saturday a very community atmosphere people like to hang out and socialize and visit it’s actually pretty cool you know coming volunteers but work we have to discourage like you cannot socialize today like you come get your food and then please leave the property and that’s to protect them and to protect our skeleton crew of volunteers is that it is that common that they do that I kind of pictured people come in and say you know I needed more green beans or more toilet paper or whatever but is that normal and now it’s different than just saying here’s a box yes so in the past they gave us what they called a wish list and obviously we’re not a grocery store but we would try to accommodate their wish list we cannot do that now we pre pack everything and they just get what we’ve pre-packed and it might be more equitable because everyone’s getting like the same exact thing but we do have situations like this past weekend we had a woman who’s a vegetarian and she was like well I don’t need the meat and stuff so we did have to do a little shifting around but you know it that has affected our service quite a bit they can’t come they’re used to saying I need this and this and this and this and we’re like sorry we just can’t do that right now yeah I have a saying that I use often and I apply it more to the to the way that we do our trainings but I say if and I didn’t come up with this but it’s like if everyone’s being treated equally and so being treated unfairly it’s like in the terms of different people learn different you know but like this case may be different people need different types of food or whatever like right but the the people giving their wish list you guys is awesome because that helps you understand more what people want I guess and then what to buy okay if we were gonna go to the store you know it’s I’d like to know what yeah because we’re doing a food drive obviously and so we’ll probably into some money but a lot of it will be stuff that we’ll buy yeah what do you need the most versus a lot of times if we’re doing a food drive it’s like whoever gives the most things and so buying you know whatever can of green beans is the cheapest or something like that you really want to help then we so Sandra actually told me to tell you to ask for chili and you know like kind of prepackaged like like rice or rice a roni or Macs and cheese or ramen we have a lot of men single men who come and they don’t know how to cook they’ve never been taught to cook they’d they just want something fast and easy so think about like our soups people love soups like canned soups okay party you know like all these has some really nice hearty canned soups and we also are in need of toiletries right now we’ve been gifted over the past many many many years to be part of the April showers program through the Girl Scouts of eastern Missouri we get all of their toiletries that they bring in and this year unfortunately they’ve had to postpone their toiletry drive so we actually are buying toiletries right now so anything like our soap toothpaste toilet the elusive toilet paper I mean we try to give everyone four rolls of toilet paper two bars of soap and some toothpaste every week we’d love shampoo but that’s not like on the top of our list we’d really like like bar soap and toilet paper I think is really important so that’s something else for people to think about okay yeah I’m having fun talking to you I know this is taking longer than what you had planned I know if you wanted you mind if I ask it’s just couple more questions I’m fine you know I’m here I’m stuck at home here you know well you know we’re mainly talking about food pantry stuff and but we are our company at least is company of Realtors so we’re in houses and we’re involved in the community would you tell me not on their side of your organization I guess about the rents and all that stuff what is what is that about what can like specifically any ideas for what specifically Realtors can do so unfortunately I have not been a part of that home visit portion besides knowing like that they do provide utility and rental assistance so for example if someone gets a cutoff notice from spire or Ameren then they can send it or call the other our other side of the Saint Vincent dePaul and they’ll provide what’s called a home visit they’ll actually go into the home they’ll work out a budget and they’ll say this is what we can provide so you don’t get your utilities shut off or maybe someone’s going to get evicted because they don’t have enough money for rent so they provide you know some rental assistance and they do that it’s really cool there’s a lot of st. Vincent de Paul societies and a lot of churches locally in st. Louis so they do something really cool called twinning where they will contact other churches that maybe don’t have as great of a need in their area and those churches will contribute financially so that our group can pay the rent or the utilities for people in our neighborhood okay yeah you know I know you said that this is kind of outside of your area but you know when they come to that home visit what are they looking for you know they would be willing to pay pay something for somebody hey I honestly I don’t think I can answer that question accurately because I’ve not been on a home visit and I haven’t been trained so I don’t know what I can I don’t really know I mean I’m sure that there’s some you know financial details and things that they have to understand and but I I don’t know what the answer to that question is okay good yes you want it later – I was going to say I could get you in touch with Nick Imgrund he is the president of that side of the st. Vincent de Paul and he would be able to give you more details on that I would absolutely love that I also a real estate-related podcast and so he would be an awesome guest president for that and you know properties and stuff too so it’s it’s good for what options are available for someone if they’re you know struggling and then yeah I’m always super interested in talking about like financial literacy and teaching people how to do better with their money and I’m kind of curious on either side as there opportunities for like me or other financially minded people to come in sort of help someone make a plan like that that would be so amazing you know we always say that we don’t we’re not we’re like a stopgap like we just provide this little tiny part of what these families need and we’re in terms of the food like we’re not able because we don’t have volunteers like it’d be so wonderful if someone like you could maybe come and sit you know maybe for a month of Saturday’s and set up a table and offer to you know you know speak with some of these people about how they might be able to you know work out some details so maybe they weren’t having so many struggles so I would love that that would be amazing yeah that would be really for me you know there’s a lot of myself in a lot of situations where I think like well why didn’t they do this why didn’t they do that you know and then so yeah I personally need to be like put in check or whatever to understand you know maybe there’s problems there that I don’t know about but also I would love to share those kind of thoughts yeah definitely all right anything that I missed today about this food about the aura that you guys want to make sure we talk about no I mean I think that you covered everything I mean I guess then one of the main things is once this situation with the Covid 19 has passed us we always need volunteers on Saturday mornings we’re open from 9:30 to 11:00 but honestly Sanders there at 7:30 in the morning starting to set up tables so even if you’re not comfortable dealing with you know our clients and things like that even if you want to you know come for an hour and help set up the food or during the week if people have a spare hour and want to come help stock shelves were always in need of volunteers lady said that because I was curious if your volunteers like had to be vetted and you kind of like kind of known for a while or if people can just sort of show up and say hey I’m here to help you know we we are pretty good about just letting people who want to help come and help I think if we were in a big building with you know we don’t really have that many safety issues because we’re outside we’re basically outside dealing with the clients face to face so yeah we love help we have teenagers that need service hours who come in you know carry boxes and stuff on Saturdays and families will come like for their Christmas service or something like that so yeah I mean we we welcomed pretty much anyone although we do encourage if families are going to bring children that they’d be at least 13 years old I mean you’ve been in the pantry there’s stairs yeah so so we it’s really not the place for little kids but anyone over the age of 13 as long as they’re attending with like a guardian or yeah they are welcome to come and help okay well I just would like to say that I think that what you guys do is amazing and I really want your your guy it seems like you’re you’re sort of like a belief system is basically like we’re gonna believe the best in people thank you want some food we’re gonna do that they need the food right you know here’s the thing you’re not gonna stand outside and a hundred and four heat like we had last fall for an hour if you aren’t a need you know you’re not going to go stand outside when it’s like 15 degrees and freezing rain out there if you don’t need something so you know that’s yeah it’s these these are people that just are suffering and they they just need you know a smile and about the groceries so people can help and thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today yeah I guess I’d like to be in touch with you about doing the table or the financial table or whatever yeah that’d be wonderful whatever use the way you would think would be best we’ll be in touch I hope to meet you in person at some point a thank you so much you
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