New River Bend Food Bank Regional Hub and FISH Food Pantry to open with public ribbon-cutting celebration
Galesburg Community Foundation Mission Impact Investment boasts more resources, increased food access for families in need in Knox County and surrounding areas
After extensive construction and renovation lasting the majority of 2022, the River Bend Food Bank, Galesburg Branch and FISH of Galesburg food pantry will celebrate their grand opening on Tuesday, November 15, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm, with a public open house and ribbon-cutting event.
The event will be held at the new Galesburg Branch location – 876 W Main St., Galesburg, IL and will feature facility tours beginning at 11:00 am. Formal remarks by key community leaders and a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting will follow at 12:00pm. The public is welcome to attend to learn how this crucial project will benefit the thousands of children and adults who experience hunger in the region.
The Galesburg Branch is located at the corner of Main and Henderson Streets in Galesburg. The Galesburg Community Foundation purchased the building in December of 2020 as a Mission Impact Investment. The location was selected after years of monitoring available real estate opportunities and assessment of the community’s need for increased hunger-relief support.
“Food insecurity is a major issue in our region, which is why we are so pleased to see the establishment of a food bank that will allow greater access to food pantries serving our area,” said Joshua Gibb, president & CEO of Galesburg Community Foundation. “This collaboration with River Bend Food Bank shows how much we can accomplish when we all work together.”
In addition to the River Bend Food Bank occupying the building, FISH of Galesburg is co-locating in the space. This allows Knox County residents facing hunger to have greater access to support while helping the pantry increase the foods available to those in need.
Elizabeth Culbertson, executive director of FISH of Galesburg said, “We’re excited to move to this more visible and accessible location. FISH will remain operating independently as FISH, as it has for the past 52 years. Our partnership with River Bend allows us to better serve our clients by allowing them to choose what they want from the pantry while providing healthier food options.”
Formerly known by area residents as the Rheinschmidt’s Carpet Center building, the renovated space offers nearly 18,000 square feet of warehouse storage in which the Food Bank will safely receive, store, and distribute up to five million meals annually by 2025. FISH of Galesburg will occupy approximately 2,900 square feet to operate their food pantry, which will be open to the public Monday – Friday, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm. More than 4,600 square feet of the building is a brand-new cooler/freezer to house fresh produce, dairy products, and frozen proteins. The cooler/freezer was made possible through a generous grant from the International Lions Club and sits on land donated by the City of Galesburg.
Nancy Renkes, president and CEO of River Bend Food Bank notes the key role community partners played in the launch of this new project. “This is a beautiful new facility that will go a long way toward meeting our mission of feeding people experiencing hunger in Galesburg and the surrounding area. But just as important as the construction is the partnership that has been built between the city, local charitable organizations, the Galesburg Community Foundation, volunteers, the Food Bank, and FISH. This building stands upon a foundation of cooperation, hard work, and compassion for our fellow citizens.”
The Galesburg Branch will provide greater access to more nutritious, perishable foods for more than 50 food pantries in the Food Bank’s network that previously spent time traveling to the organization’s Davenport, Iowa location to pick up food to distribute. Serving not only the immediate surrounding service area of Knox and Warren Counties, the Galesburg Branch will provide food to hunger-relief partners in Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, McDonough, and Stark Counties.
The River Bend Food Bank, Galesburg Branch and FISH of Galesburg will assume regular business hours in December.
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