Logan County Catholic Community Food Pantry now serving at new, larger site
LINCOLN — “Wow, this place is huge,” said the first guest to walk through the door of the newly built and blessed Logan County Catholic Community Food Pantry on June 27.
She would find, as do the dozens of others who are assisted with their families’ food needs here every Wednesday, that the new facility’s roominess is matched by the size of the hearts of the many who volunteer or support the pantry.
“I’ve always felt God wants you to work for the people,” said Guy Williamson, who with his wife Sue was among the volunteers assisting the guests that Wednesday. “A lot of people can’t get jobs or are disabled,” he added. “This is my way of helping when I can.”
Generosity fills every corner of the new facility, located at the corner of Logan and Clinton streets on the grounds of Holy Family Parish. The 80-by-22 foot building — made possible by targeted donations of several parishioners — is the third location for an outreach that began in the back of the rectory. For the last several years the pantry was located in a room of the Casa de Maria across the street from the church, an aging frame home that also includes some parish offices.
The need outgrew that space as well.
The Logan County Catholic Community Food Pantry now serves 1,600 people annually and is staffed by a pool of 40 volunteers. It is supported by all four Catholic parishes in the county. In addition to Holy Family, those faith communities include St. Mary, Atlanta; St. Patrick, Elkhart; and St. Thomas Aquinas, Mt. Pulaski.
“Every third Sunday of the month is called Food Pantry Sunday,” said Deacon Wendell Lowry, who assists Father Jeffrey Laible, pastor, in serving the four parishes. “We ask people to bring in a non-perishable item that can be distributed to the pantry. We’re able to get all of our parishioners involved, if they so desire.”
“GOD IS GOOD TO US”
One of those most involved is Pat Berger, who has managed the pantry for more than a decade.
“I enjoy helping people and get a lot of satisfaction out of that,” she told The Catholic Post.
And like the pantry’s clients, she is very pleased with the new site — built by Harnacke Builders from New Holland and blessed by Father Laible on June 13. It is air conditioned, insulated, and has plenty of storage space.
“Before we were so cramped you couldn’t hardly get the carts around,” said Berger, speaking of the shopping carts that each client pushes as they are invited to take foods from shelves stocked with canned or boxed fruit, soups, vegetables, cereals, pastas, meats, pancakes, bread, etc. At the Casa location, there was room for only one guest at a time. Now three or more can easily shop together.
In the summer, the pantry accepts garden produce, and on this morning a woman brought in a dozen large zuchinni as well as pumpkin blossoms.
“They will go to good use today,” assured volunteer Beth Fleshman.
“I’m sure I’ll have more,” replied the donor. An hour later, sacks full of milk and eggs were delivered by another parishioner who had just purchased them at the local grocery store.
“God is good to us,” said Fleshman, who registered each client as they arrived.
The pantry is open every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Those wishing to make donations may do so during those times or by calling Berger at (217) 732-9592 to arrange a drop-off time.
“We’re all called by Jesus to care for the least of his brethren, and that we do,” said Deacon Lowry.
Beth Flehman, a volunteer at the Logan County Catholic Community Food Pantry in Lincoln, assists a guest with her selections at the pantry’s new location on June 27. The outreach serves more than 1,600 people annually and is supported by the county’s four Catholic parishes. The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody
The spacious new Logan County Catholic Community Food Pantry, located at the corner of Logan and Clinton streets in Lincoln, was blessed by Father Jeffrey Laible on June 13. The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody