Frequently Asked Questions
How is the Wesley food pantry different from most other food pantries?
Two main ways: First, it’s open in the evening, which is important for those who can’t take off from daytime jobs, school, or other responsibilities to get food. Being open on the third Thursday each month is important for many families who may be running short at that point in the month. Second, clients walk through and choose their own food, instead of receiving a prepackaged selection.
The pantry is run in a church. Does that mean I have to be a member to volunteer or to get food?
Church membership is not required in either case, and persons of any faith are welcome.
Can anyone get food at the pantry?
The pantry is run for the benefit of those without the means to meet their family’s current food needs. Clients are asked to confirm that their income falls below 200% of the federal poverty level, but no proof or documentation is required.
Does the food ever run out?
No one has ever left the pantry without food. Individual items will sometimes run short, but we’ve always had enough to supply a variety of items for every family.
Does it help to come early?
Not really. We use a lottery system in which clients are given random numbers, and then called in that order. At this point, we think that’s the fairest system. Clients at the front of the line may wait a few minutes or more than an hour. Those arriving later (but before 7:30 p.m.) are more likely to have shorter waits, though a few items may not be available when they go through the lines.
Can children volunteer?
Elementary age children may volunteer with parents in certain areas, provided the parents have gone through training. Middle and high school youth may volunteer in all areas after attending training.
Can I bring my children if coming to get food?
Yes, children are welcome, but note that we do not provide child care, though we often have activities for children early in the evening. Parents are expected to keep their children with them when in the building and when shopping.
Why is training required before volunteering on a pantry evening? Why can’t I just show up?
The pantry evening is a busy time in which organizers can be very busy. Also, various aspects of the pantry are spread out throughout the large building, and some of it in tight spaces. Through training, we can explain the process, answer questions, and discuss other issues.
I have a physical disability. Can I still help? Can I still get food?
Yes. We have volunteer roles for everyone. And clients have the option to select food on a list and have it put together by a volunteer.
Where does the pantry get its food?
Most of our food comes through the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to addressing the issue of hunger in the local area. We supplement this with limited grocery store purchases.