By Marianne Mueller, REPORTER

In the basement of the Old Stone Church, 75 volunteers lined up on Saturday morning, Nov.19.  Each person filled a box with non-perishable foods, canned goods and extras. Added to these boxes were a turkey and a gallon of milk. Each box was filled with love for others. “Remember these are going to people in need and would not have Thanksgiving without you,” Pantry Director Donn VanSchelven directed to volunteers. “Take pride in what you have done.” Volunteers ranged in age groups spanning every age and generation. Families, Community members and Hononegah Indians football players came together in this giving volunteer mission.

Prior to Saturday morning a total of 70 volunteers sorted food. After boxes were packed the boxes were brought outside. Cars lined up and 85 families were presented with a meal as volunteers loaded boxes into cars. “In 1984 Stateline Ministries approached us and gave us 10 days to come up with six thousand dollars

MARIANNE MUELLER, PHOTO - The Herald. Volunteers line boxes up outside the Old Stone Church ready to be picked up by area families.

Volunteers line boxes up outside the Old Stone Church ready to be picked up by area families.

,” said VanSchelven. “Friends and the Community came through and the money was raised. In the past 22-1/2 years the Community has really supported us and for that we are very grateful.”  Food and cash donations roll in on a consistent basis keeping the Pantry alive. Local churches, individuals, civic groups and service organizations, schools, foundations and businesses are behind the Pantry’s ability to reach out to those in need. Since its inception in 1984 the Old Stone Church Food Pantry has served as many as 75-80 families a week.

In addition to these Thanksgiving baskets the Pantry serves the Stateline area by offering food with a gallon of milk, medical and health advice, and Christmas baskets. Children of families who have difficulty buying groceries on the weekends are serviced in a unique manner. Through a backpack program children from Rockton Grade School and Stephen Mack receive backpacks full of basic food to take home with them. The program has been ongoing since 2011. “Backpacks are sent home with kids in grades K-12 who don’t have food at home on the weekends,” said VanSchelven. “We have had three National Honor Society students who have helped out with this every year. Next year we are in need of people to help with this program. This would make a great Community service program. These backpacks are given to schools on Thursdays.”

The Old Stone Church Food Pantry is open on Thursday’s from 9:30 a.m. until noon. They serve residents in Rockton, Roscoe, Shirland, Harrison and South Beloit. Requirements to receive groceries include a valid state identification card or driver’s license, along with proof of current residency.

This Christian based food pantry is a true blessing to all who receive greatly needed help!


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