The La Salle City Council agreed Monday to seek ways to provide help for a local organization in making sure locals in need don’t go hungry.
Mary Jo Credi, executive director of the Illinois Valley Food Pantry, spoke in front of La Salle aldermen Monday asking for assistance.
The pantry, located at 122 Wright St., has continued operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and provides services to individuals who lack employment, have insufficient income, have had resources depleted because of sickness and death, or qualify for elderly or physical disabilities.
The organization operates with a staff of six and many volunteers in order to provide its service, but with greater need for the food pantry comes greater operating costs. Currently their main source of income consists of donations and various grants.
With growing clientele, the freezer and pantry space has become limited, according to Credi.
Credi asked for any help the council could provide to ensure they are able to continue to serve the community. Ideas such as monetary support, the use of additional vehicles for delivery, a decrease in rent and the possibility of a bigger location were all floated as possible solutions to the problem.
“Anything at this point. Anything that can help us cut our costs on things that we have right now would help keep us going,” Credi said. “The sad part is we’re not going away, we can’t go away.”
The council and Mayor Jeff Grove agreed to explore the options the city has at its disposal to provide further assistance to the organization.
Grove stated the council's intent to pool their ideas and return with a plan before the next council meeting for the food pantry while also thanking members of the food pantry for the work they do.
“Thank you for what you do,” Grove said. “You probably don’t get enough appreciation, so we thank you for that.”
They pantry has been able to continue serving the areas of La Salle, Peru, Oglesby, Utica and several more across the Illinois Valley.
Credi stated the pantry's intent to speak to other city councils from areas they serve and ask for assistance as well.
In the 2019-20 fiscal year the food pantry served food to more than 14,000 individuals, 62% of them from La Salle. They signed up 252 new clients over the last year with little sign of the numbers slowing as 12 more have enrolled since the start of September.
The Illinois Valley Food Pantry operates five days a week with curbside pickup available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Delivery services also are available on Wednesdays to eligible recipients in La Salle, Peru, Oglesby, Utica and Jonesville.
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