Food pantry helps Parkland students, community

Rachael Mowrer

Staff Writer

For the last three years, the Parkland Food Pantry has offered a very important service on campus- providing food for those in need.

The food pantry is open to the disabled, veterans, unemployed, underemployed, homeless, single parents, and students, etc., to help them get through the month without food insecurity.

The pantry located on campus in building S, and they are open the first and third Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. of every month and every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. You have the option of going up to two times a month. If you work during these days, Wesley Food Pantry in Urbana is open every third Thursday from 5-7:30 p.m.

Wesley Chapel opened a food pantry in 2006 to ease the number of people with food insecurities in Urbana. Eventually, in 2013, they extended to Parkland to serve the people of Champaign. Over the years, more than 1,500 students from Parkland and the University of Illinois have volunteered to serve those less fortunate than themselves.

Wesley food pantry helps around 1,000 people per month, and the Parkland pantry helps more than 300 people.

Over 16 percent of the people in Champaign County suffer from the insecurity of not knowing when your next meal will be.

That’s roughly 38,900 people just in Champaign alone. If you are going to come and get food all you need is to bring your ID, preferably your student ID if you are going to go to the Parkland Pantry. Check the Wesley Food Pantry website to see if you qualify for assistance. If you do, you’ll get a portion of nutritional food that will help you get through the rest of the month.

One woman who utilizes the services says she’s grateful for the food pantry. “My husband and I separated three months ago. Ever since, I’ve been struggling to pay all of my bills. Getting supplies from here takes a lot of stress off of me.”

Even if you can’t leave your home, have work or don’t speak English well, you could still get help from the food pantry. Someone else can go for you and there are people of all different backgrounds working there who will make accommodations to make it easier for you to communicate with one another.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up at Wesley Food Pantry’s website Duties include unloading food from trucks if you work on delivery day, opening pallets of food, assisting people with loading their cart, and helping people bring their bags to their car. If you know Spanish or sign language, you may be asked to translate or to work with people who don’t understand English. You can also help out by donating money to the Wesley food pantry online.

“We typically see around 15 families a day” says Del Jacobs, a parkland student who volunteers often. “We could use all the help we can get!”

Wesley and Parkland Food Pantry respect the privacy of those who use the service, therefore, information is kept confidential and not shared.