anne eickstadt photo Belvidere Republican
Up and down the line, police officers and volunteers place boxes of food into trunks and back seats of vehicles during the BPD’s last food pantry of 2020.

By Anne Eickstadt


Monday, Dec. 28, began with the promise of a beautiful sunny day – in late December in Northern Illinois – which meant temperatures below freezing. Nevertheless, the Belvidere Police Department, in partnership with Immanuel Lutheran Church, Empower Boone, the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), set up stacks and stacks of boxes containing food to give to everyone who came by.

This pop-up food pantry was the latest in a series of pop-up food pantries that have been held in 2020 by the Belvidere Police Department.

“We know there is a huge need this year,” said Deputy Chief Matt Wallace. “Due to the generosity of the community and grants the BPD received, we were able to sponsor several pop-up food pantries to help alleviate, at least in some small way, some of the hardships caused by the pandemic. Today, we have an opportunity to help during the holiday season and start the new year off right.”

This drive-through food pantry was set up in front of the Immanuel Lutheran School, 1225 E. 2nd St. just off Belvidere Road. It was scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The volunteers showed up at noon to find that the boxes of food had already been delivered and eight delivery stations had been set up to place the boxes into vehicles. Four stations were set up on each side of the stacks of boxes with police officers and volunteers ready to place them into the vehicles. Four vehicles at a time were sent from the waiting line to take their places at the delivery stations on each side and they did not move until all four had the requested amount of boxes and were ready to move on.

Each household received three boxes – meat, dairy and fresh vegetables and fruit. Many vehicles were collecting for two or more households and one vehicle came to collect food for ten households. Halfway through the afternoon, the BPD dispatched a truck to deliver boxes to the Shadley Apartments and then refilled it to deliver food boxes to Sheffield Apartments.

The stacks of boxes got steadily shorter as the hours passed by and vehicles came through the lines. What little was left at 4 p.m. was picked up by a truck from Empower Boone to distribute in Capron.

Altogether, Wallace reported that over 400 households had received food that Monday to feed families through the end of 2020 and start 2021 with nourishment.

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