The Henry County Baby Pantry, operated out of the Golden Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church in Clinton, MO, concludes its first year of operation with gratefulness.

The pantry is operated by the Family Resource Center of Missouri and is managed by Sarah Dunwoody, the wife of Kent Dunwoody, pastor for the Golden Valley Church. The Dunwoodys connected with the Family Resource Centers of Missouri after volunteering at a nearby diaper bank. There, they learned that Henry County, Missouri, where the Golden Valley Church is located, is considered a “diaper desert.”

“A diaper desert is any location where the most accessible place to buy diapers is also the most expensive … [and] a community without resources for families to receive diapers for free, if the family had no money to pay for diapers,” said Shay Jefferson, executive director of Family Resource Centers of Missouri.

After learning about the critical need in Henry County, the Dunwoodys asked the church if a space in the church previously used for an elementary school classroom could be used for the pantry. The church agreed and the classroom was transformed into the Henry County Baby Pantry.

The pantry opened in January 2021 and served five families the first week, as was previously reported in the April 2021 issue of OUTLOOK magazine. Today, the pantry serves about 25 families a month. From these families, the pantry helps provide necessities for about 40 children.

According to the pantry’s pamphlet, the pantry provides formula, diapers, food and more so families in need can “raise happy, healthy children.”

Volunteers for the pantry said they believe the pantry is an important service to the community and they are happy to be a part of the program.

“I feel like I’m providing help for those that need it most,” said Laura Hartman, volunteer.

The volunteers also feel they can help meet families’ needs by being a friendly face.

“I decided to volunteer here because I want to be like Jesus,” said Elsie Dill, volunteer. “He met the needs of everyone in the town that He went through, showing kindness and love. I believe that is a need here with these mothers and their children.”

The Family Resource Centers of Missouri is grateful for the dedication of the Henry County Baby Pantry volunteers.

The collaborative partnership between the Family Resource Center and the volunteers at [Golden Valley Church] has made an amazing impact in the lives of the most vulnerable in Henry County and the surrounding communities,” Jefferson said.

To conclude its first year of operation, the pantry gave bags to the guardians of the families they serve. The bags included items donated by members of the Golden Valley Church and the Kansas City Central Church. Each bag had shower gel, lotion, socks, gloves, a devotional, a notebook and a pen.

According to Sarah Dunwoody, the pantry is grateful to see the increase in families served over this year and hopes to serve even more families this coming year.