Assistance sought to relocate Fulton Food Pantry

With the sale of the Robert Fulton Community Center, the Fulton Food Pantry needs a new home. For the time being, the Fulton Food Pantry has set up temporary quarters in the Fulton Township Garage. This is an adequate location for the short term but is not a long-term solution. The Fulton Food Pantry provides vital resources to many in our community who are in need and experiencing what is termed food insecurity.

Food insecurity occurs when a person or family lives in fear of hunger or is unsure where their next meal will come from; having to choose between paying bills, medical expenses, or purchasing food is food insecurity. Food insecurity can affect any age but is most commonly reported in single-parent families with dependent children.

According to the Riverbend Food Bank, one in eight adults are missing meals, not by choice. One in five children are missing meals, not by choice and 63 percent of these people are choosing between medical care and food. These numbers are striking but it is easy to assume that problems are bigger in the Quad-Cities or in more urban areas.

Closer to home, the River Bend School District reports similar numbers for the families that attend Fulton schools. This school year, 42 percent of the children attending Fulton Elementary School qualify for free and reduced lunches. In addition, the “backpack” program sends food home with 17 children on weekends. While we know that not every family is also in need of assistance from the Food Pantry, there are many who are.

The Fulton Food Pantry is open every Thursday morning to provide food and other basic necessities to those in need in our community, specifically, in both Fulton and Thomson, Illinois. In 2017, the Food Pantry served an average of 128 families each month; these families represent about 400 individuals. These families include people in transition, unemployed, under-employed, elderly, and children. In fact, 50 percent of those using the Food Pantry are senior citizens. The Fulton Food Pantry serves the needs of the Fulton and Thomson communities and is a vital resource in our community for those experiencing food insecurity.

The Fulton Food Pantry was started by the churches in Fulton to address the needs of our community. It is supervised and run by volunteers. Financially, it is supported by businesses, churches, individuals, grants and organizations. The annual budget of the Food Pantry is less than $40,000 a year, most of which is used to purchase food. This is one of the many reasons we need your assistance. Purchasing new housing is far and above the usual income of the Food Pantry.

In order to continue to offer the services the Fulton Food Pantry has been able to provide to our community, they are in need of a permanent space that meets the following criteria: A minimum of 2,000 square feet of space, ADA compliant, with a restroom and parking.

The Riverbend Ministerial Association and the Food Pantry board are seeking funds to build a building on a site to be determined that will meet the needs of this vital ministry. In partnership with the Riverbend Ministerial Association, the Board of the Food Pantry is seeking your help to raise the funds needed to relocate to a permanent home.

While a space has not yet been identified, the reality is that fundraising must begin if we are to have the ability to obtain land and a building when the right location is found. Through the generosity of some, $15,000 has already been raised for this work. It is the goal of the Riverbend Ministerial Association, in partnership with the community, to raise a minimum of $70,000. This is an estimate of need for the purchase of land, building and finishing a building; it is possible that more will need to be raised. Should more funds be raised than are needed, the monies will be given to the Food Pantry to aid in its work and ensure proper maintenance of the new facility.

If you would be willing to assist the Riverbend Ministerial Association and the Food Pantry donations can be made to the Riverbend Ministerial Assocation and mailed to the Riverbend Ministerial Association, C/O First Reformed Church, 510 15th Ave., Fulton IL 61252.

Another means of supporting this work will be in building the building when the time comes.

Those who have skills and training in the following areas are needed as well: Carpenters, framers and finishers, electricians, concrete workers, heating and cooling installation, painters, Drywall finishers, licensed plumbers, metal workers for siding and roof and block layers for brick. If you would be willing to give of your time and talents, please be in contact.

Thank you for your support of this vital ministry in our community. If you have questions or would like to offer your skills, you may contact the Rev. Edie Lenz at (815) 589-2103 or the Rev. Scott Stephan at (815) 589-3425.

Prayerfully,

The Riverbend Ministerial Association