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Illini Community Hospital installs mini food pantries across Pike County, Illinois

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FOOD PANTRY

PERRY, Ill. (WGEM) -- A local hospital is stepping up to feed families in need.

Illini Community Hospital administrators said families within Pike County, Illinois, struggle with access to food and the means to afford it so they've set up four mini food pantries in communities across the county.

Bobby Romero lives one house over from the pantry in Perry.

"Being so close to it, I have a lot of food to put in there and help out whoever's in need," he said.

Romero said he is no stranger to tough times. Having been homeless and needing a helping hand himself, he said he wants to help others.

"I go on Facebook community all the time to see who else needs help because everybody needs help sometimes and I would love to give back because I've been helped out so many times in my life," Romero said.

Illini Community Hospital administrator Kathy Hull said they want to make sure people don't have to travel far to get the food they need.

"We found that the community has supported them by putting food in them which is a great thing and also that people are using them," she said.

Hull said a community assessment done in 2018 showed some Pike County communities struggle with transportation and food scarcity so they developed the idea to help solve both issues.

"Knowing that small groceries no longer exist in these small communities and that some people don't have the means to go and get food, this is a way we can get food to people," she said.

Emilee Martin said as a mother of three, she knows what it is like to have to provide for her family and wants to be able to help others do the same.

"It's great to see our community stepping up and coming together for people who need something like this," Martin said. "It means that people are trying to reach out and that people are care about everyone else. I think it brings the community a little closer together."

Hull said anyone in need can drive up and grab food from the pantries located in:

  • Perry
  • Baylis
  • New Canton
  • Pearl

Hull said to make a contribution you can drop off donations at those locations or the Illini Fitness Center.

Charity Bell

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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