Pantry director: politics behind Cahokia food bank closing

CAHOKIA, Ill. (AP) — The director of a southwestern Illinois food pantry says that Cahokia village officials have shut down the nonprofit organization in response to her unsuccessful school board campaign.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports that Mayor Curtis McCall Jr. placed Cahokia Community Basket director Christina Walker on paid administrative leave last week and ordered her to “vacate the premises until further notice.”

Walker called the move “political payback” for her run in April against Cahokia school board candidates backed by McCall, who won their races. A village employee who characterized the St. Clair County pantry closure as a “reconstruction” told the newspaper that the mayor wouldn’t comment.

The St. Louis Area Food Bank says the Cahokia pantry is one of the busiest in the two-state metro region, serving 1,200 families each month.