CANTON (HOI) - Tony Henderson has been helping run the First Baptist Church food bank for 2 years. Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and a increased need for food has been challenging, but he said he loves every minute of it.
"It's just a great thing to be able to help people with with their needs. And today, there's so many needs everywhere you look," said Henderson.
Every Monday and Thursday the food bank is open, helping feed Fulton County. Since the pandemic began, Henderson said their twelve volunteers had to adjust to a drive-up delivery format. "Everybody works together so well we try to coordinate to traffic so minimum space between vehicles and we can we can get the bulk of them in the parking lot. It just runs real slick," explained Henderson.
The new format for handing off the food isn't the only challenge the pandemic has provided. "The numbers have increased very much. We're probably close to 2000 families a month now," said Henderson.
Brittany Cook said she's been driving from Farmington to Canton every week to get a box of groceries. "So times have been a little tough. Everything's kind of been hot water, you know, trying to figure stuff out. We get some food here that's very nice. It helps out with the family, make sure that we can make it through just maybe even just another week with where everything is," she explained.
After having her hours cut at her job since the statewide stay-at-home order, Cook said it's been more difficult putting food on the table, and has had to cut back on other expenses, like putting gas in the car.
The food pantry at First Baptist in Canton continues to grow so much they now said they are the largest of their kind in Central Illinois. Now they've put in a $30,000 walk-in refrigerator to help keep up with demand. To get involved by volunteering or donating or to see if you are available to receive food you can contact First Baptist at (309) 647-7241 or checkout their website here.