This month the McLean County Republicans will present our third annual Everyday Hero Award at our Lincoln Reagan Dinner on April 29. A check for $500 will be presented to the charity of the award winner's choice. We are choosing to designate April as our Volunteer Hero Month and will have a series of posts focusing on those who make a difference in our community.
TODAY'S POST IS FROM MARY CARLISLE: THE HEROES OF THE MIDWEST FOOD BANK
A few years ago I became aware of a fantastic group of volunteers who pickup food from ten local grocery stores six mornings each week. The participating stores are Jewel, Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Kroger, and Fresh Thyme. At about 7:00 am, Monday through Saturday, a box truck leaves the local Midwest Food Bank Warehouse with volunteers ready to gather food from the following departments inside the stores: Bakery, Meat, Produce, Deli, Dairy as well as Non-Perishable food items. From the Bakery Departments, for example, they receive bread, decorated cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, donuts, bagels, rolls, coffee cake, and more.
This group of twenty volunteers, take turns throughout the week picking up these items which are then made available to several local Food Pantries. Once they make their rounds to the grocery stores, they return to the warehouse at about 10:30 am to unload the food. They typically stop at these departments in each of the grocery stores two to three times each week.
Approximately 60 Food Pantries in Bloomington Normal and surrounding towns are able to feed about158,000 people each month, due to these very generous food donations from these stores, as well as other resources.
Of the approximately 93 Food Pantries and Agencies in McLean County which benefit from these donations, here are a few which receive them monthly or weekly: Home Sweet Home Ministries, Hudson Christian Church Food Pantry, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church, St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Heyworth Christian Church, Center for Hope, St. Mary's Wesley United Methodist Church, Eastview Christian Church, Village of Downs Food Pantry, Apostolic Pentecostal Church, Heart of Hope House, Abundant Life Church, McLean Food Pantry, Calvary Baptist Church, LeRoy Christian Church, Lexington Community Church, Saybrook Christian Church, East White Oak Bible Church, Gridley Meals on Wheels, Danvers Community Food Pantry, and many others.