Open Door Service Center in Sedalia would really like their grocery carts back. According to an article in the Sedalia Democrat about ten carts have been taken from the food pantry and have not been returned. This is hampering the number of families that can get through the food pantry per day. The lack of carts also limits what some of their clients can take, because the food pantry lets clients use the carts to wheel their groceries home. No carts to get the food home, you're limited to what you can carry.

And this is where the problem starts. According to the article, people who use the carts to get their groceries home are supposed to leave their license. When they return the cart they get their license back. Either the people taking the carts don't care about getting their license back. Or the pantry staff is being nice and taking people at their word that they'll bring the carts back without asking them to leave a license. How the pantry is doing it obviously isn't working. (In an ideal world, it wouldn't be an issue. Take a cart, get your groceries home. Bring the cart back for the next person.)

When my family lived in Philadelphia, grocery carts never went beyond the front of the grocery store. Barriers and posts kept the carts corralled at the door. Why? People ripped them off. As difficult and as limiting this may be for Open Door's clients, maybe this is the answer. Use the cart to do your shopping, but you're responsible for getting them home without the cart.

I'm not saying people are intentionally ripping off the food pantry's grocery carts. I'm saying that I think some people who use the pantry aren't thinking about the cart's value to others who use the service. Maybe they have an intention to return them later and then don't get around to it. Maybe they don't realize how not returning the cart hurts other clients. Or maybe some are just inconsiderate.

Jennifer Taylor, pantry lead/volunteer coordinator, told the Sedalia Democrat:

“If they continue to do this, we won’t have carts anymore and they’ll be carrying their groceries. We don’t want to give less food because they can’t carry it. It’s going to limit them.”

So if you utilize the Open Door Food Pantry and have a cart bring it back to them. If you're a community member that finds one in your yard, or even your neighborhood let the pantry know and they'll retrieve it. And if you can't be bothered to return a cart, don't take one to start with. You can reach Open Door at 660-827-1613.