A local non-profit food group is looking to feed healthy foods to those in need this evening. The Central Illinois Foodbank in partnership with Jacksonville’s Central Christian Church, will be hosting a healthy food drive this evening at 6PM located at 359 West College.
Public Relations Manager Ashley Earnest explains the sponsors and set up of the event.
“We are really grateful to a few partners that make all of this possible. We were fortunate enough to receive a grant from Wells Fargo recently that allows us to give out this fresh produce and then, we wanted to do a donation in Jacksonville and we had worked with the folks at Central Christian Church before and they are always willing to get out there and help hand out the food and provide a space for us and we are very grateful to them. It is just pulling in all these players who make it so people can go and get food. We like to set it up in a farmer’s market so that people can pick out what they like and sometimes we will have dietitians come out and hand out recipes so there is a lot of community support out there.”
Earnest says it is important for needy families to have access to fruits and vegetables.
“We work with some other foodbanks to capture a lot of produce [that may not be perfect], like the green beans may be half an inch too tall or the oranges are a little bit too small. However, they are still good produce that are full of vitamins and minerals and we are really working hard to get more of that fresh stuff in because it is important for families to have access to that.”
Program Manager Virginia Ferguson says that the Central Illinois Foodbank is getting ready to launch a new pilot food program in Springfield soon to spread out to the rest of Central Illinois.
“We are getting ready to launch a new food rescue program in September and this will allow us to connect to donors such as restaurants and caterers and will allow us to pick up those smaller scale donations that will connect to a volunteer who will be able to bring it to a local agency. We are really excited to get that program off the ground and we were able to do so with a grant from the Walmart Foundation. Our plan is to initially kick this off in Springfield and then learn how the program operates, see any hiccups along the way so we can learn from that, and then we hope to expand out into some of the other communities that we serve.”
The Central Illinois Foodbank covers 21 counties with their food and food rescue programs. The program covers nearly 100,000 people in that area. The foodbank does not normally turn people away if they are asking for food. The foodbank employs anywhere from 10-25 volunteers per event. The Central Illinois Foodbank will be hosting another event in Jacksonville in September. For more information about how to get food outside of events or to volunteer visit their website at centralilfoodbank.org