To many students a snow day is a vacation day, but to some it means there is less food on the table.

The Union Food Pantry has been closed five days this year, which has impacted some local families in need.

It is the pantry’s policy to close when the Union R-XI School District closes due to inclement weather. Of the 10 snow days the school district has been closed this school year, five of them have fallen on a Monday or Thursday, the two days the pantry is open to the public.

“If the schools are closed because of inclement weather we are closed,” said pantry volunteer Jan Brennan. “We have been closed quite a few days this year.”

Last month the pantry was closed Thursday, Jan. 2, Monday, Jan. 6, and Thursday, Jan. 9, which are three consecutive days the pantry normally is open.

“It is kind of a hardship for families who come in to get food,” said Brennan. “We have been posting notices on our doors.”

The pantry also was closed consecutive days of Thursday, Feb. 6, and Monday, Feb. 10.

According to Brennan, the pantry is much busier when the pantry first opens after being closed due to snow.

“When we do open, there are more people who come in because they can’t come in those days we’re closed,” she said.

“They’re grateful when they come and thankful to the community for supplying food to them,” Brennan added.

She noted that pantry volunteers also are thankful for the support of businesses, organizations and individuals in Union.

“All of us have been commenting on the generosity of the community to the food pantry this year,” Brennan said.

She noted that the next challenge will be during the spring and summer months when there are no organized food drives.

“From May to November, that’s when we really be hurting,” Brennan said.

About the Pantry

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

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 Ken 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.