Letter from mayor shutters Cahokia food pantry - KMOV.com

Letter from mayor shutters Cahokia food pantry

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The Cahokia Community Basket food pantry was shutdown by a letter from Mayor Curtis McCall. The Cahokia Community Basket food pantry was shutdown by a letter from Mayor Curtis McCall.
CAHOKIA (KMOV.com) - A charity organization that helps to feed hundreds of St. Clair County families every week was shut down after a letter was sent from the new Mayor of Cahokia, Curtis McCall.

"It says, 'You are hearby notified you've been placed on paid administrative leave, effectively immediately. Upon receipt of this notice, return all village property to your work area, remove all personal belongings and vacate the premises until further notice. Respectfully, Curtis McCall," said Director of the Cahokia Community Basket. "This is a letter that was popped up on me with no meeting, no conversation, no explanation."

The Cahokia Community Basket is a food pantry which serves 300 families in St. Clair County every week. Instead of preparing to give away food later in the week, workers like Walker are packing it up and giving it all to other charities.

"We need to get this stuff out of here, they are going to take it to the food pantry they have at the Lighthouse Learning Center," Walker said.

The staff of the Cahokia Community Basket started moving items on Saturday and will have to move freezers, refrigerators, tables and other supplies into storage for the time being.

The letter which ceased the operation of the charity was sent by Mayor McCall, who was elected on April 10.

"All I've asked is for him to come and see what we do before you do a drastic step like this," Walker said.

Walker said she invited McCall to see the Cahokia Community Basket, but he never came and the only information Walker received on the decision was that it was "pending future litigation."

Mayor McCall did not respond to calls from News 4 on Monday.

An agenda for Tuesday night's village Board Meeting does include an ordinance to terminate the employment of personnel.

The village of Cahokia owns the building which the Cahokia Community Basket used and paid Walker as a part-time employee with no benefits. However, the food pantry is run by a charity and the charity's board selects the director.

"We're just here to help, that's all we want to do, just help people," said Walker. "That's all we want to continue to do."

Officials at the St. Louis Area Food Bank said they have partnered with the Cahokia Community Basket for 20 years and have never had trouble or any complaints.

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