Union Food Pantry volunteers said they are experiencing a pre-holiday drought in donations.

Ken Lingle said each year donations are down before the holiday season.

“We’ve got food on the shelves, but have to spend a lot of money,” he said. “The money donations are not there.”

In November, the Boy Scouts hold their annual drive, which is a major benefit to the pantry, Lingle said. After that, there are more individual and business donations due to the approaching holidays.

And the number of those in need continues to increase.

“Last month was a record month as far as people coming into the pantry,” he said. “It’s not getting any better — the need continues to grow.”

Lingle added that the community has always been supportive of the pantry, and any donations are graciously accepted.

“There are a lot of pantries that aren’t as lucky as we are. We have a lot of support from the people of the community,” he said. “Every time I think we’re down and out, here they come — this community is great as far as supporting the pantry.”

He added that the pantry always needs food donations of pastas, pasta sauce, soups and tuna. The pantry is stocked with corn and green beans, but needs other vegetables, he added.

Other items needed at the pantry include Hamburger Helper-style box dinners, chilli beans and cereal.

The Union Food Pantry, a Christian outreach organization located at 113 W. Locust St., serves the Union and Villa Ridge areas.

Since 1994, the number of families who are helped by the Union Food Pantry each year has increased.

Now the pantry averages more than 160 families per month.

Families needing assistance are invited to call the food pantry at 636-584-7050.

Food can be dropped off between 2-4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, or by appointment. Call Lingle at 636-583-4042 to schedule an appointment.

There are food pantry donation boxes at many local churches. Contributions of grocery items can also be taken directly to the food pantry at 113 Locust St., Union.

Union Food Pantry has served the Union and Villa Ridge ZIP codes since 1994. It shares with other area food pantries and receives support from the United Way. The facilities are donated, and it uses only unpaid volunteers. Monetary donations are used to purchase perishable items, such as meat. Nearly 100 percent of donations go directly to serve those in need.

Many volunteers generously donate time to the food pantry to mark food expiration dates, stock shelves, staff the facility, distribute pantry items to families, and purchase food.