by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Grove residents were so generous with donations when their neighbor Melisa Taylor asked them to â€œFill up Their Doorstepâ€ last December that she decided to take it one step further. With so many people finding it hard to make ends meet in today’s economy, Taylor decided to start up a food pantry in Sugar Grove.
â€œThere’s no reason in today’s society that people should go to bed hungry,â€ she said.
Taylor and a crew of children and other parents collected hundreds of pounds of food, warm clothing and pet supplies before the Christmas holidays to contribute to the community Holiday Spirit program. She said the number of people who donated inspired them to continue.
Once again, people have stepped forward to help. The first contribution came from an unlikely sourceâ€”the old Kane County jail. Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez donated about 1,000 feet of shelving that might have otherwise been destroyed when the old building is torn down.
Engineering Enterprises, Inc. donated space in a back corner of its building to house the operation. Volunteers, including Sugar Grove resident Jim Eckert, are currently cleaning out the space, painting the floors and the walls and working out the logistics.
Taylor has also made an initial contact with the churches in the area, where she hopes to find people willing to volunteer their time once the pantry opens.
According to Kaneland Food Pantry President Rita Burnham, there is a great need in this area. Burnham said two years ago, the Kaneland Food Pantry, located in Elburn, serviced 10 to 12 families a week. That number is currently up to an average of 40 families per week.
Taylor said the need is so great everywhere that she does not see the Sugar Grove Food Pantry in competition with the Kaneland location or others in the area.
Visitors to the Sugar Grove Farmer’s Market, which begins Saturday, June 6, are encouraged to bring non-perishable donations for the new food pantry. Taylor said she hopes to have the pantry up-and-running a few months from now.