Local 4-H group helps feed the community

The Stone 4-H group donated a whole hog to the Monroe City Food Pantry several weeks ago. The hog was donated to the group by Ryan and Leticia Hulse, and the processing was paid for by the group’s fundraising efforts and state fair money. Pictured front row, from left: Maggie Watson, Cecelia Hulse, Natalie Miller and Anna Hulse. Second row, from left: Burton Hulse, Grant Watson, Rance Greiman, Selby Hulse and March Greiman. Third row, from left: Reed Miller, Ayden Shortridge, Edward Hulse and Trace Greiman.

MONROE CITY, Mo. — The Monroe City Food Pantry is an essential part of keeping area households fed as well as the surrounding communities, and they will now have more food to go around thanks to a local 4-H group.

The Stone 4-H group of Marion County arrived at the pantry a few Tuesdays ago with a special donation, as reported by Stone 4-H reporter Grant Watson.

“Stone 4-H, along with Ryan and Leticia Hulse, partnered together to provide a whole hog to the Monroe City Food Pantry,” Watson wrote, who is in fourth grade. “Part of the 4-H motto is to serve the community and make the community a better place, and this is one way that we put our pledge into action. Several members were in attendance to deliver the meat to the pantry.”

Devyn Timbrook, Director of the Monroe City Food Pantry, said that donations like this help them ensure they will have enough meat to continue running.

“When we don’t get meat from the food bank, this meat will supplement and make sure that we can still open up on pantry day,” she said.

Timbrook said the area’s need for the pantry continues to grow since she took office almost two years ago.

“When I arrived in Feb. 2020 we were serving 110 families once a month, and in Feb. 2021, we fed 981 families. COVID has hit really hard, and it seems to be holding steady,” she said. “Usually there are a lot during Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

According to Timbrook the hog will feed about 150 to 200 families, and those families will be eating directly from the Stone 4-H group’s hard work. Lauren Watson, Grant Watson’s mom, said that the group had money from various fundraisers and premium money received from club exhibits at the fair.

“We had some (money) sitting, and one of our things is to serve our community. The (Monroe City Food Pantry) is something that the kids can recognize what that means while we are doing it,” she said. “Our club is a Marion County club but most of us are from the Monroe City area, so it was something that they could see the need for right here in our own town.”

The impact will be felt by the surrounding communities as well; the pantry services the counties of Monroe, Ralls, Marion and Shelby. Timbrook said that they have been blessed with other meat donations to keep them going as well.

White Barn Processing, located in Monroe City, participates in a program called Share the Harvest, in which hunters can pay a small fee to have their deer processed for the needy. Through the program, the Monroe City Food Pantry received 1,500 pounds of meat to help get through the winter.

Dana Ogle, owner of White Barn Processing, said that he has about that much, or more, to process from Share the Harvest Donations. Ogle said he receives a small compensation from the Conservation Federation, but it’s really about doing something for the community.

“It’s something I believe in,” he said. “I want to be able to help the community.”

Another way they sometimes receive donations is through Aly’s Project through the United Way. Aly’s Project allows 4-H and FFA members to donate their livestock projects after fair season to local pantries or senior centers, while the United Way pays for the processing.

Timbrook said they welcome all meat donations, but that they must come through after being processed. “During COVID we are only allowed to take donations that come through a registered butcher or a commercial kitchen,” she said.

To find out more about the Monroe City Food Pantry, you can follow them on Facebook at Monroe City FOOD Pantry.

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