World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
Food bank gives grants so pantries can get freezers

By Julie Wurth, Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

1987 days ago   Article ID# 1030011
Original URL


Eastern Illinois Foodbank

CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS (Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette) - About 1,000 people show up for the Wesley Foundation's food pantry every month, but there's usually no meat on the menu.

Despite its popularity, the pantry can't afford a refrigerator or freezer to store meat for the giveaway.

That will change soon, thanks to a grant from the Eastern Illinois Foodbank for a new commercial freezer. The food bank awarded $58,000 this month to 15 agencies across the region so they can stock more produce, meat, dairy products and other healthy fresh food.

"Having a freezer now will be particularly wonderful, because in the summer we have our highest numbers," said Donna Camp, who runs the Wesley United Methodist Evening Food Pantry. "We should be able to give each household something."

The grants are part of the food bank's new Healthy Futures Initiative to increase access to nutritious foods, particularly for children, Executive Director Jim Hires said.

Lack of freezer and refrigerator capacity has long been an obstacle to providing adequate fruits, vegetables, eggs, meats and other fresh foods, officials said. If agencies can offer perishable foods on a consistent basis, it can help families make healthy choices, said Andrea Rundell, director of programs at the food bank.

"It's about getting healthy food out there," Rundell said. "People want healthy food. People love to see produce."

The grants are going to food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Champaign, Vermilion, Douglas, and Iroquois counties. Besides Wesley, they include the Center for Women in Transition, Community Elements' TIMES Center and Salvation Army Food Pantry in Champaign; Sheldon Area Food Pantry in Iroquois County; Arcola and SAM food pantries in Douglas County, and St. James Food Pantry in Danville. In all, 20 agencies submitted requests for grants.

The money can be used to buy a new refrigerator or freezer, repair an old one or update electrical systems to support commercial-grade units.

The St. James pantry had an opportunity for a donated walk-in freezer but couldn't afford to move it to the church and pay for the electrical improvements needed, coordinator Carol Olson said. The $1,700 grant covered those costs, and the freezer was installed this week, just in time for its monthly food giveaway from 5 to 7 p.m. today, Olson said.

Before, she had to store frozen food in nine different small freezers at the church.

"This is going to make it so much easier," Olson said Tuesday. "We were thrilled. The food bank is wonderful. Our food pantry couldn't exist without it."

Wesley plans to buy a two-door freezer, allowing the pantry to take advantage of meats periodically available from the food bank, Camp said. She likes to provide families with high-density protein, but that's hard to do with canned goods.

"Usually our only choices are tuna and peanut butter," she said.

Camp plans to reapply for a grant next year to buy a refrigerator. Eggs are high on most families' wish lists, she said.

The Wesley food pantry is open every third Thursday from 5 to 7:30 p.m., including this week.

Money for the grants comes from an endowment created last year by the food bank's board after it sold some property bequeathed to the agency, Hires said. Earnings on the endowment are restricted to "capacity building" for its 200-plus member agencies, he said.

The grants will be awarded on an annual basis, and they will likely focus on refrigeration for several years, Hires said, as 90 percent of the emergency food programs need cold storage.

The Healthy Futures Initiative started with the food bank's backpack program, which sends healthy snacks home with schoolchildren every weekend, and efforts have been made to stock the agency's Foodmobile with more fresh produce, Hires said.

"It's all about getting more food to more people," he said.

Copyright 2016 Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 1987 days ago   Article ID# 1030011

Eastern Illinois Foodbank    View Charity Profile    Visit Website

More Eastern Illinois Foodbank News

New pantry aims to serve where needy families already are

267 days ago From illinoishomepage.net 


Food drive collecting cans on Wednesday

2010 days ago From Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette 

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, ILLINOIS - Just how many cans it would take to reach across the Quad may remain a mystery. The third annual Cans Across the Quad drive is scheduled for Wednesday, organized by the Illini Union's Office of Volunteer Programs. All donations will go to the Eas ...

Salt & Light Can-less Food Drive raises funds to feed hungry

2333 days ago From Daily Illini 

CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS - Salt & Light Ministry, located on Anthony Drive in Champaign, is organizing a new type of canned food drive =97 one without any canned foods. ...

Food Bank holds events to raise awareness

2595 days ago From Daily Illini 

CHAMPAIGN, ILLINOIS - Throughout September, the Eastern Illinois Food Bank is hosting events to raise hunger awareness in light of Hunger Action Month. ...

<< Return To Community Service News

Action Center

Humanity has entered new climate reality era

Action: Climate Change

Humanity has now entered a new climate reality era, with carbon dioxide concentrations expected to remain above the level of ...

Colorado's bears and lions need your help

Action: Wildlife Conservation

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has proposed a plan to kill mountain lions and black bears in the Piceance Basin over a three-yea ...

Gold mining deforestation in Peruvian reserve surpasses 450 hectares

Action: Stop Deforestation

In the past two months, another 100 hectares of tropical rainforest have been demolished in Tambopata National Reserve, where ...

Oregon: Say no to a massive new factory farm

Action: Stop Pollution

Oregon officials are considering whether to permit a new factory farm in the northeast's Umatilla River Basin, and we need yo ...

No, the Great Barrier Reef is not dead, but it is very, very sick

Action: Save Our Oceans

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living structure, was trending on social media Friday, after it was declared dead ...

View All Actions >>





Follow Us


Find A Charity

Action Center




Twitter Support



Add A Site




Privacy Policy






Terms of Service

Copyright © The Charity Vault All rights reserved.