ST. LOUIS — When you look in Chriss Johnson's grocery cart you might think "there's enough food to feed a small army." But that's exactly what she's trying to do.

"With school starting, I know the soldiers and their kids needed some additional help, so hopefully this will be a good start and everybody else will kick in," Johnson said.

Johnson's restocking the shelves at the Jefferson Barracks Food Pantry — which serves military, veterans, and their families — a hard task made tougher coming out of the donation-lean summer months.

"Our shelves have become very, very low," organizer Linda Ferguson said. "We serve all five branches of the military so it doesn't take long for our shelves to deplete themselves."

Ferguson said the 13-year project is funded exclusively by community donations like Johnson's. 

Just last weekend, they had 145 people come through the Jefferson Barracks Food Pantry, but there aren't enough supplies right now for another round.

"We were there. We made it. But it was a struggle," Ferguson said.

For donors like Johnson, keeping the pantry stocked is more than a one-day mission. It's personal.

"I come from a military family," Johnson said. My son and my husband are both military, and quite frankly I'm just thankful for what they do for us. It's a phenomenal thing."

If you'd like to contribute, non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at Realty Executives on Tesson Ferry Road, Affton Elks Lodge #2635 on Heege Road, and Mungenast St. Louis Honda on Lindbergh Blvd.

If you would like to contribute financially, monetary donations should be payable to Jefferson Barracks Food Pantry and mailed to the following address:

Jefferson Barracks Food Pantry
24 Davis St.
St. Louis, Mo. 63125

Contact reporter Sara Machi on Facebook and Twitter.

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