It started with a few concerned individuals. In the mid-1960s, west St. Louis County was largely rural, and poverty was a growing problem. In response to this issue, people from a handful of local congregations began meeting to coordinate help for families in need. Chairs were arranged in a circle during the meetings, signifying that all members held equal weight in the discussions. From those beginnings, Circle Of Concern was officially formed in 1967.
A completely volunteer-run organization at the start, we operated out of various area churches. After 22 years, we moved into our first “home” in Valley Park in 1989. In 2009, Circle Of Concern completed construction of a new facility in Valley Park, built specifically for the food pantry operations. Today this facility serves as the hub of our daily operations and relief efforts.
Circle Of Concern’s first staff member was an executive director, hired in 1995. Today we have a five-person staff focusing on servicing our pantry, auxiliary programs, volunteer management, community resource development and general operations.
Volunteers remain integral to all work accomplished at Circle. More than 350 active volunteers provide direct client service, stock the pantry and warehouse, support our technology, share their accounting expertise and contribute to all activities of this busy organization.