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Pawnee Food Pantry goes on a mission
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Volunteers assist in restocking the Pawnee County Food Pantry. The shelves are filled with food items after the facility was vandalized two weeks ago. - photo by JIM MISUNAS Great Bend Tribune

LARNED — A little setback won’t keep good people from doing good deeds.
The Pawnee County Food Pantry and adjoining Orphan Grain Train are back up and running after recent vandalism closed down the facility for 12 days. The Food Pantry was restocked with more items than before the vandalism.
“It’s thankful, but I’m not surprised we’ve received this much support,” said Linda Wyman, president of the Pawnee County Benevolence board, which supervises the food pantry. “There have been food drives conducted in town that have really helped. The board helps tie things together in the community.”
Food items were temporarily housed at the Larned United Methodist Church. But several volunteers helped transport everything to its home at 501 North Main.
“We had a great crew that moved the food from the United Methodist Church to the clean shelves of the Pawnee County Food Pantry,” Wyman said, “Thank you to everyone who helped and to all those who donated food to get the Pantry stocked back up and ready to serve.”
The Pawnee County Food Pantry and Orphan Grain Train facility was damaged the day before Thanksgiving by a perpetrator. Don’s Motors at 212 W. 5th St. was also burglarized.
Linda Wyman received the call about damage at 2:09 a.m. Nov. 25.
“There are no answers that make any sense to what happened,’ Wyman said. “But we can continue to pray for him.”
The facility at 501 North Main also houses the Ministerial Alliance’s Helping Hands Ministries program. Various food items were removed from the pantry building, and there was also extensive damage done to the inside of both businesses, including large amounts of automotive fluids that were poured on the walls and floors.
“It’s really amazing to see the level of support of the community,” said Tonya Andrews, Helping Hands director. “We were down to just a few food items. It’s awesome to see everyone support us. We’ve come back in with full shelves after what happened. It’s nice to be back.”
Andrews is sympathetic to the plight of the crime perpetrator.
“We are praying for the person who caused this,” she said.
The building is also used for the Food Buddies Program, Narcotics Anonymous chapter meetings, and commodities distributions from Great Bend. There is no charge to the groups and organizations that utilize the building and it is all taken care of by the OGT and Food Pantry.
The Orphan Grain Train collects clothing that is shipped to the agency’s facility in Nebraska. Two freezers filled with meat for the pantry were thrown away, a cost of more than $6,000.
Food donations were temporarily made at Edward Jones, 506 Broadway and Progressive Therapy, 117 Sixth St. in Larned, which both conducted food drives.
The Orphan Grain Train and Larned Food Pantry are community partners with the UWCK, and have asked that all donations go through UWCK.
Anyone interested in making a donation, can make their checks payable to UWCK and note the Orphan Grain Train or Pawnee County Food Pantry in the memo. They can be mailed to 1125 Williams St., Great Bend, KS 67530.