A partnership to fight hunger and food insecurity in McDonough County
MACOMB (WGEM) - Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) and Good Food Collaborative are both Macomb-based nonprofit organizations and both share the same cause.
Now the two will be teaming up to fight hunger and food insecurity in McDonough County.
Good Food Collaborative originally stemmed from the pandemic. Formed in the spring of 2021, the organization acts as a mobile food pantry by delivering goods to households.
Good Food Collaborative Board Chairman Richard Chamberlain said the idea to partner with another nonprofit began in August when he sat down with WIRC Executive Director Roger Pavey to discuss the potential.
“We started talking about how we could team up and be stronger together versus individually,” Chamberlain said. “We started talking about it and decided a storefront food pantry really would solve a lot of problems in the community.”
The storefront food pantry will act as a grocery store to those who qualify and will be set up in the current clothing center at WIRC. Additionally, Good Food Collaborative will utilize more space at the facility to stock and load food for their mobile food pantry.
Pavey said having a grocery style food pantry will make food assistance more inclusive.
“Choice-based foods provides dignity and also helps people that might have health concerns,” Pavey said. “We know that food is cultural and that we all make choices about what we eat, and those choices are informed by who we are, our backgrounds and our medical and dietary needs.”
Since Good Food Collaborative’s inception, the demand for the service has increased. Director of Operations Zac Green said that within the past week alone, they’ve delivered to more than 380 households, which he said tallies to more than 1,000 people.
“We’re all fighting the same thing,” Green said. “One way or another so it makes more sense to work together on that battle rather than trying to fight independently.”
Good Food Collaborative is currently housed in First Presbyterian Church on 400 E Carroll Street. Green said the transition to WIRC, 133 West Jackson Street, will take place in January. Until then, the nonprofit will transition back to every week deliveries while taking the entire month of January off.
“We anticipate the demand to continue to grow,” Pavey added. “By working together we can meet that demand better than we can meet it separately.”
Chamberlain said Good Food Collaborative is currently in the process of ordering shelves and freezers for the walk-in pantry.
“We’re going to make this look like a storefront so we’re building it from scratch,” Chamberlain added.
Chamberlain expects the pantry to be ready for use by early February.
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