God's House of Hope continues to be an asset to the McLean County community and surrounding areas by providing about 400 families with food and other necessities each month.
According to Becky Curry, vice president of McLean County's God's House of Hope, the food pantry serves about 265 seniors a month and 100-110 residents under the age of 60.
God's House of Hope had its humble beginnings as Heaven's Grocery, working out of a broom closet in Mt. Vernon Church. It has grown much since then, moving throughout various other locations to its current building in Island where it is able to provide for many seniors and families living throughout the county.
Curry said a lot of what the pantry is able to do is thanks to many churches and businesses in the region that help provide non-perishable goods and other items to give out to those in need each month.
While the pantry can only give out its USDA food to McLean County residents meeting the income requirements for receiving provisions, volunteers still try to do what they can for anyone that comes to the facility in need.
"We don't turn anyone away," Curry said. "If they're in need, we'll give them food, but we can't put them on our regular list."
The amount of provisions each family receives is based on their income eligibility and the number of people in each household, according to Curry. Despite this, the pantry still tries to go above and beyond for those who might need a little extra to get by.
"If somebody comes in with four or five people in a household, we will give them extra meat and extra cereal," said William Carter, God's House of Hope president for McLean County.
Curry said people come in needing food every month for a multitude of reasons.
"There's a lot of situations that happen," she said. "You lose your job or get sick, and a lot of people don't have insurance, and once you have an accident … hopefully, you have a little savings saved up, but the medical bills will eat that up in no time."
While God's House of Hope receives a lot of non-perishable USDA foods, it is regularly in need of prepared canned foods, laundry detergent, toilet paper, tissue and other toiletries that may not be covered by food stamps, which many of the families in need rely upon.
"We don't get prepared foods like canned ravioli and soups, you know, things that seniors can just open and heat up," Curry said.
God's House of Hope Food Pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon on Mondays and Thursdays during the first three full weeks of the month, at 205 W. Main St. in Island. The pantry also holds a fish fry fundraiser on the second Friday of each month from 4 to 7 p.m. Proceeds from the fundraiser go toward purchasing more food for the pantry and paying electric bills for the building.
For any questions, the pantry can be contacted at 270-486-3886.