Out and About: Circle of Concern

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Morgan Vehige

On Feb. 1, my friends and I traveled to Circle of Concern in order to understand more of what the company does, how they help others daily and how we could assist in doing that. Our job consisted of doing various tasks to help out two other volunteers in the warehouse.

Morgan Vehige, Sports Editor

Despite being around the community for over 50 years, local food pantry Circle of Concern deserves more praise for helping others than it currently recieves.

Located in Valley Park, Missouri, Circle of Concern helps feed those in West County, Wentzville and Valley Park who need it most.

On Feb. 1, my friends and I all traveled down to Valley Park, not knowing what to expect when we walked in through the doors of Circle of Concern.

Immediately, we were warmly greeted by the two volunteers at the front desk. They talked to us momentarily and thanked us for coming in on a Saturday morning as volunteers in high school.

A kind lady named Juliet talked to us about the basics of what Circle of Concern does before showing us what they do.

The first thing she showed us was the Birthday Club room in the back of the main building. Although they’re known for how they feed the community, they also use some of their funds to help give birthday gifts to children whose parents aren’t able to provide them with gifts.

Next, Juliet showed us the pantry and explained how those who need food come into contact with them, and how they implemented the choice system in their pantry two years ago.

The choice system allows for those who get food from Circle of Concern to pick and choose which food items they get within the limits that the pantry sets. It’s quite helpful for those families who need to avoid allergies and meal plan to make it through the week.

After that, she led us to the warehouse where all of the donated food is stored. When looking at the masterful organization and imagining the number of people who donated the food over time, it took a great deal of concentration not to tear up a bit. When I looked over to my friends as well, I could tell they were feeling a similar way.

In the warehouse, two gentlemen volunteers, Bart and Damon, talked with us and ran us over what we were to do. We were to check to see if the food was expired or not, cross the barcodes off of the items and organize them into boxes based on the type of food.

Even with the possibility of being mind-numbing work, it really wasn’t anything like that at all. Every single box that we sealed up came alongside a feeling of rewarding satisfaction. Even one box of dried dinners or mixed vegetables could help feed multiple families for many weeks.

It really hit close to home when a few of the boxes that were grabbed to organize and sort were actually from Lafayette. They were filled to the brim with all of the cans that Lafayette donated during the Canned Food Drive that was held during first semester. The fact that I was able to see in real-time how my local community impacted others was astonishing.

Overall, Circle of Concern is a wonderful establishment that does many good deeds in the community and I don’t think I could ever regret going there. Everyone there was kind and good-hearted, and the work was simple yet fun to do.

What originally started off as getting some service hours turned into an overall fantastic experience that left me with a sense that I’ve done some good in the world, that I was apart of something that mattered.

In order to find out more of what Circle of Concern does, or to donate cans/volunteer, you can find their website link here.