Andrew County food pantry's air conditioner stolen, company steps up to help

A food pantry ran in part by the United Methodist Church in Savannah has been providing food for people in the community for years but last week, volunteers discovered that the pantry's air conditioning unit had been stolen.

Posted: Jul 19, 2019 11:17 AM
Updated: Jul 22, 2019 12:46 PM

(SAVANNAH, Mo.) A food pantry run by the United Methodist Church in Savannah has been providing food for people in the community for years but last week, volunteers discovered that the pantry's air conditioning unit had been stolen.

Marian and Kenneth Vogt have been leading the food pantry services of United Methodist Church since 1996. The operation grew in 2009 when they joined other churches in the area in a new building and expanded services as the Andrew County Ministries Food Pantry. The pantry is home to the standard pantry, backpack buddies program, and a clothing closet for those in need.

Lead Pastor of United Methodist Church Dee Pennington says the pantry provides food for 150-200 people and each person gets enough food for at least a week.

"We give them three ounces of good protein per person per meal, and vegetables, butter, rice and things like that but we also give them options," Marian Vogt said. "We want to provide people with dignity and a high-quality meal with good protein." 

For the Vogt's, serving is a passion, they say they are called to do.

"There are hungry people and we're just trying to serve them," Kenneth Vogt said.

"It's just one of those rules we live by; to serve," Marian Vogt said. "The Lord is good He provides what we need to give out we are just hands in the transition."

That transition was nearly interrupted last week after the Vogt's and other volunteers noticed the AC was gone.

"It was Thursday they realized they didn't have any air conditioning and it was Friday they were informed that the unit was gone," Pennington said. 

"It's just disturbing, that's about the only word you could use to describe it," Kenneth Vogt said.

The major concern of volunteers was not themselves working in heat during the excessive heat warning, it was about how the food they provide for those in need. 

"We have a lot of food here and equipment that keeps it cool so we were worried that if it got too hot that equipment might not be able to 'keep' the food," Marian Vogt said. 

However, volunteers didn't have to worry for long. 

Four Seasons Heating and Cooling co-owners Rick Storer and Doug Huff heard about the food pantry's situation, they decided to step in and help by donating a brand new AC unit. 

"We didn't want any recognition for it we just wanted to do it," Storer said. "I mean there's such a need out there, I mean there are so many different needs, so everybody should at least step up and do something and give something."

On Thursday morning, Rick Storer and Doug Huff's team started installing a brand new AC unit in the front of the building. The stolen AC unit sat behind the food pantry and was visible from the highway. 

"We figured we'd move it from the back of the building so people won't be able to see it as well," Storer said. "Hopefully it'll deter people from stealing it." 

Volunteers say because of Doug Huff and Rick Storer's donation of the AC unit and their teams labor installing it, they can continue serving those in need. 

"That money that we don't have to put into getting a new air conditioner can now be given to those who need it," Pennington said. 

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