MARYVILLE, Mo. — The Maryville Rotary Club has donated about 2,000 pounds of food to The Ministry Center through the club’s district, which donated more than $70,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts throughout northwest Missouri.

Three large pallets of food were brought in with milk, canned beans, ramen noodles, and one full pallet of potatoes.

“We hope this benefits somebody here,” said Megan Jennings, Maryville Rotary Club president.

The Ministry Center Director Merlin Atkins said the organization has delivered even more food throughout the county, but has seen a drop off in people coming to the center to pick up food.

“We’re down to about a hundred clients, used to be 180,” he said. “A lot of the older people are afraid to come in.”

He said the center has begun delivering to churches and communities throughout Nodaway County. The center gives more than a literal ton of food to the churches in Burlington Junction and Parnell.

“And to everyone of the (churches) in town that are serving meals of a night, we give them food, all that they can give out,” he said.

Atkins explained that part of the abundance comes from Second Harvest’s produce that offers more than they can give out. He said the food bank has held three mobile food drops in Maryville with around 8,000 pounds of food given out each time.

The center receives and provides about 500,000 pounds of food throughout the year. Doing the math, Jennings and Atkins worked out that the center gives out about 3,500 pounds of food each time the center is open to the public, which is three times per week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Since the center is open about 12 times per month, it is giving out about an average of 40,000 pounds of food per month.

The Rotary donation takes care of about 5 percent of the center’s monthly need.

Jennings offered that the club still plans to donate hams for Christmas, but asked what other kind of help the center might need.

Atkins said the center will need some help unloading trucks, because students from the Maryville High School won’t be able to help this year due to the pandemic. Anyone interested in assisting should contact Atkins or The Ministry Center.

Those seeking food assistance aren’t currently required to show proof of income. They only need to show proof of county residency and sign in at the center to receive food.

Atkins said the center may eventually go back to requiring income information, but due to the ongoing pandemic, it is not required.

For more information, call 660-582-6649 or visit during center open hours 2 to 4 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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