Around Town with Judy Martini: Crystal Lake Food Pantry Open House

The Crystal Lake Food Pantry recently had an Open House to show off their beautiful new facility. The Pantry moved to its new location at 42 East Street in Crystal Lake off Route 176 several months ago.

The new centrally located facility makes it easier to serve the Pantry’s clients. Since 1 in 7 people currently need help to feed their families, the Pantry helps 547 families per month in the area, up 10% from last year. Surprisingly, over 36% the Pantry’s customers are under the age of 8 years old, while 9% of their customers are over the age of 60. In keeping with their motto, “no one should go hungry,” the Pantry is planning more outreach in the future to expand services for seniors, and their many volunteers from Scouts to Churches will help make sure that the goal is met.

The Pantry’s previous facility was about 3,000 square feet, while their new facility is a dramatically larger 30,000 square feet and furnished thanks mostly to donations. The conference room which will be utilized to teach healthy eating classes, English as a second language and empowerment classes through the cooperation of McHenry County College. The state of the art loading docks and storage rooms will also be utilized by Northern Illinois Food Bank as a holding station for other food pantries in the area.

The Pantry distributes more than 750,000 pounds of food annually, much of it donated by major food chains or bought for redistribution to those in need. Recipients are allowed to come twice a month to obtain food and must be residents of School Districts 47 and 155. There are no income restrictions and if you do not live in the local school district you are able to shop at the facility once, with no questions asked.

The Pantry is just like a traditional grocery store, the aisles are marked for convenience and large coolers are prominently displayed with meat, dairy products, and an assortment of baked goods, fruits and vegetables.

The Pantry is a charity organization supported by over 20 local churches and staffed by more than 400 dedicated volunteers. For more information on food services or to volunteer call (815) 455-0961. If you know someone who is struggling to make ends meet, please share the info about the Crystal Lake Food Pantry with them. There’s a great group of people there willing to help you. Hours at the Food Pantry are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. - 2p.m., and Thursday night from 5-8 p.m.

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