Metamora students fill need for fresh food at local food pantry

The Open Arms Food Pantry is located at 1200 W. Mount Vernon St., Metamora.

For the second year, Metamora Grade School student council planned a highly successful fresh food drive.

An initiative of the Partnership for a Healthy Community, fresh food drives benefit local food pantries and increase access to fresh produce for families in need.

A fresh food drive is similar to a canned food drive, only donations are fresh produce instead of canned goods.

Metamora Grade School students in kindergarten through eighth grades participated and collected 550.5 pounds of fresh produce, which was donated to Open Arms Food Pantry in Metamora this week.

The pantry is a ministry of the Open Arms Community Center, led by Metamora Mennonite Church.    The mission is to “serve the hungry of our community by offering food with no strings attached,” according to its web site.

The Pantry is located at 1200 W. Mount Vernon St., Metamora.

“Our students love hosting and participating in fresh food drives,” says Shannon McClure, junior high science teacher and student council sponsor. “It’s a tangible thing they can do and see immediate results, helping others in their community. Even our youngest students understand that fresh produce is a healthier option but is also a luxury for food pantries.”


Shannon McClure, Metamora teacher

The fresh food drive was coordinated through local agencies and Open Arms Food Pantry volunteers to ensure the produce collected was distributed in a timely fashion.

Partnership for a Healthy Community urges local organizations, businesses, churches and community groups to “Get Fresh” by hosting a fresh food drive this winter.  Fresh food drives benefit food pantries in the tri-county area.

Pantries often do not receive donated produce on a consistent basis. Donations of fresh produce slow or cease to exist in the winter months, when the local growing season comes to a halt. By hosting a fresh food drive, organizations can fill the gap and help area families eat healthier.

To host a fresh food drive, contact Shanita Wallace, Tazewell County Health Department, at 309-929-0308.

For additional information about area efforts to increase access to fresh produce, reduce obesity and increase activity, visit