The ministry of the Midwest Food Bank reaches a number of areas where the need for food assistance is great–including some not far from home.
Located about one hour west of Peoria and Morton in “Spoon River Country”, Fulton County has suffered its share of hardship over the years, as a decline in mining, agriculture and manufacturing have taken their toll, as the county currently suffers with a 13.8 percent poverty rate, according to the 2010 census. A large empty lot on the northeast side of Canton is all that’s left of a massive International Harvester plant which was an intergal part of the local economy until it was shut down in the 1980s.The most recent reports find 5,222 Fulton County residents receiving SNAP assistance from the State of Illinois.
There are seven food pantries in Fulton County, including three in Canton, one each in Cubaand Fairview and two in Lewistown, the county seat.
The dedication of the MFB staff and volunteers are greatly appreciated, as is the variety of choices offered by the Food bank.
One of the places in Lewistown served by the MFB is the United Methodist Church pantry, which is open twice a month in the church’s basement.
The Food Bank provides mainly meat and candy, but also provides just about every other kind of food at different times, according to coordinator Kent Goforth.
“They (the Food Bank staff) are good people,” Goforth said. “They’re very dedicated and have a heart to help.”
The Methodist Church pantry serves Lewistown School District 97 and has worked with the MWB for about four or five years, according to Goforth. The need my vary as far actual families served, with 80 parcels handed out in October after 150 families were served in September.
The inspiration of six Christian women from the Lewistown area, Poppa’s closet (now defunct) worked with the Food Bank for all but one of its five years of existence.
The Closet serves aa broader area than the Methodist Church, averaging between 40 and 50 clients a month with some people coming from Astoria, Havana, Cuba, Smithville and Ipava in addition to Lewistown.
“The Food Bank has been wonderful, wonderful to work with,” according to Sheryl Crumb, financial secretary and store manager, for Poppa’s Closet. “They have quite a bit of choices and a variety of good, healthy foods.”
The Closet also had cooler and freezer facilities to provide a greater variety of food. The food pantry was only part of Poppa’s Closet, which included a thrift store offering low-cost clothing (the organization’s original mission.
Crumb said that Poppa’s Closet was looking for a ew location for its services at the time it closed. The all-volunteer staff operated Poppa’s Closet on the third Monday of each month in Lewistown. The Closet’s main support came from the St. David church of the Nazarene and the Waterford Church.
I am concerned about the accuracy of the information on Poppa’s Closet. If anyone has updted info, please email mem at firstname.lastname@example.org. The food bank is also preparing to help with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Anyone interested in learning more about the MFB or donating can visit http://www.midwestfoodbank.org, or http://www.tendermercies.com.