DANVILLE — Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s Foodmobile will be available Saturday morning at a brand new site in Danville.
Eastern Illinois Foodbank will distribute food to area families from 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, at South View Upper Elementary School, 133 E. Ninth St. The Foodmobile distribution will take place rain, snow or shine because it will be in the school’s cafetorium.
“This is our first time at this location,” Eastern Illinois Foodbank Partnership Manager Ashlee Salinetro said Wednesday.
Since July 2018, the Foodmobile has been making the rounds at other sites in Vermilion County, including Georgetown, Hoopeston, Ridge Farm and Rossville.
“This is our first one in Danville,” she said. “Someone reached out to us and asked how we could get a distribution in Danville.”
Salinetro said South View was chosen as the distribution site for Danville because “the parking is abundant, and there is plenty of room to set up the tables and get everyone in the door and indoors.”
The Danville site will be added to the Foodmobile’s schedule.
“It won’t be monthly; it will be every few months,” she said of the frequency of the Danville distribution.
The Foodmobile is a mobile food pantry where low-income individuals, families and senior citizens may receive free food and other grocery products.
“We usually have peanut butter, jelly, canned goods, bread and produce,” Salinetro said. “What’s donated is what doesn’t sell in the stores. It’s usually expensive bread and a lot of organic products.
“Our main goal is to get USDA commodities out, through Feeding America, to people in the 18 counties we serve,” she said.
All Vermilion County residents who meet household income eligibility guidelines are welcome to participate in Saturday’s distribution. Those attending are asked to bring sturdy boxes, carts, wagons or bags to carry the food.
“We are projecting 200 households to come through this Saturday,” Salinetro said, adding that each household could consist of multiple members.
Anyone unable to attend Saturday’s distribution due to a disability may send someone to pick up food on his or her behalf. The designated person must know that person’s name, address and number of members in the household.
To be eligible, a household must have an income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $3,793 per month for a family of four.
“When they sign in, they will self-attest that they meet the income requirements,” Salinetro said.
Maximum monthly income per eligible household is: One person, $1,859; two people, $2,504; three people, $3,148; four people, $3,793; five people, $4,437; six people, $5,081; seven people, $5,726; and eight people, $6,370. For each additional household member beyond eight, add $644.
Danville District 118 is in charge of finding 25 volunteers to help with Saturday’s distribution.
“It’s great to see the community come together and volunteer at a distribution event,” Salinetro said. “It’s a warm experience to see how grateful the individuals are who receive the food.
“A lot of people, they’re there because they need the food,” she said. “It takes a lot of courage to go there.
“We’re human; it’s a pride thing, but they’re there because they really need it,” Salinetro said.
The Foodmobile distribution comes at a critical moment for area residents. Data released by Feeding America, the nation’s network of food banks, shows that 14 percent of people in eastern Illinois are considered food insecure, which means they sometimes lack adequate access to food. Also, nearly 20 percent of children are food insecure. (http://feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/hunger-studies/map-the-meal-gap.aspx)
Eastern Illinois Foodbank works to alleviate hunger in eastern Illinois through cooperation with a network of food pantries, agencies and other programs, such as the Foodmobile program.
The Foodbank distributes donated and discounted food throughout an 18-county service area in cooperation with more than 160 member agencies and programs. Through these agencies, the Foodbank provides food to more than 120,000 different men, women and children each year.
Other area Foodmobile distributions can be found by visiting the Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s website at www.eifoodbank.org and clicking “find help.”