Ten years ago when the world gained a new perspective due to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, a group from California United Methodist Church was spurred by the events to give back to their community. Ten years later a groundbreaking ceremony took place at the location for the new Moniteau Christian Ministries Center (MCMC), 401 Rear Latham Road, California, where Cargill presented a donation of $100,000 for the new facility. Willard McCloud III, complex general manager for Cargill's turkey processing operations in California, said they were approached by the MCMC Board about the project of building a new facility and said it fell in line with Cargill's goal of being the global leader in nourishing people.
"We worked with the offices in Minneapolis and were able to get the actual Cargill Foundation there to donate $50,000," McCloud said, "and our business unit here put in another $50,000 towards it. We feel it is a very meaningful investment in the California/Moniteau County community. Part of the facility will be the Cargill Food Pantry, which is one of a select few, another being in Wichita, Kan., with the Cargill name attached to them. We do not attach the Cargill name to a lot of these projects, but we think this is such an important and meaningful project we were very excited to be a part of it. It is great to have the opportunity to do it here in California where we have had a very long relationship with this city."
California United Methodist Pastor, Rev. Linda Pagel, president of the MCMC Board, said the event had several purposes.
"We wanted to honor local firefighters," Rev. Pagel said, "police and emergency responders of Moniteau County. We wanted to honor them in reflection of what happened 10 years ago on Sept. 11, and show our appreciation for our local community. We wanted to feed and entertain them and have a wonderful day. The other purpose was letting people know this will be the new site for the MCMC, to get them out on the land and start to catch the vision. We are also very excited to let the community know about the $100,000 donation from Cargill."
After Sept. 11, 2001, members of California United Methodist Church pooled together money, food and advertised about the church starting a food pantry. October 2001, the food pantry opened and served 15 families. Now 10 years later the pantry, partnered with the Food Bank of Central and North Missouri serves 160 families. Having a central location for the food programs, Buddy Pack student program and Project Share will be a great benefit going forward for MCMC.
"Because we see the need is growing," Rev. Pagel said, "we want to meet that need. The new facility will help in many ways. We are partnering together with Project Share, a ministry which distributes clothing and household goods at a nominal price. They then take the money to help pay the overhead for the facility. The facility gives us a central location so people can come and get food along with clothing and household goods and do not have to make several trips during different days to places around town. We are also going to be able to be open more days of the week than we are currently."
McCloud, gave some words before the presentation during which he relayed his own personal experience with the events of Sept. 11.
"A few of you know this about me," McCloud said, "but I was actually in New York City on 9/11, 10 years ago. I was a banker for Merrill Lynch at the time and worked directly across the street from the World Trade Centers. I experienced that day in all of its pain and horror. But 10 years later, although the memories of that day never fade, I find solace in the triumph over tragedy that the establishment of this food pantry signified some 10 years ago, and I am happy to be here today to lend Cargill's resources to the establishment of a permanent home for what is now the Cargill Food Pantry."
As part of Cargill's mission to be the global leader in nourishing people, being able to support a food program is very meaningful to them according to McCloud. He added going forward as Cargill's name is on the food pantry, there is a vestment between the corporation and food pantry.
"This organizations have done great work over the last 10 years with the establishment of these programs and future facility," McCloud said. "We are very excited. We are also very invested in United Way which also gives quite a bit to MCMC. One of the goals will be physically getting some of our 500 employees at the California facility to participate in serving people at the food pantry. This adds the hands which are needed as well as our resources to the pantry."
McCloud said one of the reasons he joined Cargill was it shared a set of values he had of giving back. Rev. Pagel said she is grateful to all of the different churches, businesses and groups which came together to, "provide what they do best and share their blessings to the event and days to come."
Rev. Pagel added Cargill helping them with the corporations' vast resources is something very exciting for the project.
"We are very grateful they are being so generous to the MCMC," she said. "By attaching Cargill's name it helps us and folks in the community know this is a real thing and not just a dream that was talked about. We have real resources to work with which helps make the vision a reality."
McCloud said he appreciates the hard work by those who have given time and resources to the MCMC and looks forward to working with them in the future.
"We are very excited with the addition of the Cargill Food Pantry," McCloud said, "as part of the continuing work of building on the legacy over the past 10 years."
Rev. Pagel said for more information about the MCMC, they can call her at 573-796-2792 or visit her at the California United Methodist Church located at 201 South Oak Street.
"It was a great joy to see everyone at the groundbreaking," Rev. Pagel said. "I am so passionate about feeding hungry people, especially children, and taking care of children. To see how many people have come together to support this vision and make it a reality has been such a great blessing."