UNSUNG HERO: Long Prairie Food Pantry - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Long Prairie Food Pantry

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BELLE RIVE -- A Dalghren woman is saying thank you to a food pantry that kept her from going hungry. But after 35 nyears, Belle Rive pantry has closed its doors for good.

In her own words, Shirley Gunter wrote a heartfelt poem about the place she said kept her from going hungry.

"People should appreciate what they have when they have it because it may not always be there," said Shirley.    

For the past three years, Shirley has relied on the Long Prairie Missionary Baptist Church Food Pantry for food.

"It was very difficult sometimes to make ends meet. This pantry helped me out a lot because I am on a very limited budget," said Shirley.    

On June 20, Shirley picked-up her last bundle of groceries. The pantry had been open for just over 35-years and Sue Scrivner and her husband had overseen operations from the beginning.

"It kept me busy. Met a lot of people and made a lot of new friends," added Sue.    

Over the years she's had different volunteers help her load, unload, and pack plenty of food for the families to eat.

"When the doors opened we just started giving out and we always gave people a choice," said Sue.     

"There was a laundry basket full, plus a box and usually a bag," added Shirley.    

But as Sue and her husband got older, upkeep became harder and the couple began to have health concerns. On average, Sue served about 40 families a month with help from donations and a food bank in Springfield.

"I'm just thankful we had enough support from other churches besides our own to be able to furnish the amount of food that we did," said Sue.    

Sue said she's sad to see it end and will never forget the people she met. And as another parting gift, Shirley gave Sue a heart-shaped Dreamcatcher.

"The people like her and people who help her are here for us, to help us in our time of need," said Shirley.    

Shirley said she's not sure where she'll get food next, but she said Sue made sure everyone had a list of other pantries around the area.

"Many blessings to you Sue and all those that have assisted you," quoted Shirley from her poem.

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