The Hope for the Hungry ministry of GPS Faith Community serves to meet the needs of the food-insecure of the Parks communities. From pantries to a community garden to supporting SNAP use at the GPS Farmers Market, the people of GPS reach out to help solve hunger in our community.
Mobile Food Pantries are held every other month at Grace Lutheran Church, 343 Grand Avenue in Loves Park. GPS and Grace have been co-sponsoring pantries together for 11 years. Our pantry program continues to grow and change to meet the needs of the community. We actively seek local businesses interested in sponsoring one or more pantries financially and/or with volunteers. If your organization would like to help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always in need of volunteers to help hand out the food! Contact us for a schedule of opportunities to serve.
It began with a trip to the Northern Illinois Food Bank Rockford branch in the fall of 2006 where 30 volunteers sorted apples and potatoes. While we there we heard about the possibility of sponsoring a mobile food pantry - a refrigerated truck with 10,000 lbs. of food. In January of 2007 we did our first "HOPE FOR THE HUNGRY" campaign. Our goal was to raise $1,400 (the price of one mobile pantry) in four weeks. We raised $4,500! Then we found that we could sponsor the trucks for 1/2 price.
In 2007 we hosted 6 Mobile Food Pantries at Grace Lutheran Church. In 2008 we raised another $5,000 and did 6 more Mobile Pantries. Then, in 2009 GPS and Grace Lutheran joined together for our "HOPE FOR THE HUNGRY" campaign and together we raised $15,000. This money supported 9 Mobile Pantries in 2009 with many other ministries such as 120 Thanksgiving and Christmas Food Baskets for members in our community.
Helping Hands Pantry provides food assistance to those in need in the Loves Park and Machesney Park area. In 2010 they approached GPS Faith Community and other organizations with a plan to increase the number of days per month that they were open to serve the public from one day per month to opening four days per month. A small, but dedicated group of GPS volunteers now staffs the pantry on the 2nd Thursday of each month.
Helping Hands Pantry is located behind the Church of Christ building at 7624 Elm Avenue, Loves Park. They are open on:
First Saturday of the month from 10 am - noon
Second Thursday of the month from 1 pm - 3 pm
Third Saturday of the month from 10 am - noon
Fourth Thursday of the month from 6 pm - 8 pm
Pantry guests are asked to bring a photo id and a utility bill to prove residency in Loves Park or Machesney Park. Services are provided regardless of religious affiliation or participation. For information about the Helping Hands Pantry or to volunteer, contact us at email@example.com or visit their website.