How Rock Island-Milan School Families Can Get Free Food Delivered
Pantry to Porch provides food from the River Bend Food Bank to families in need at schools in Rock Island-Milan.
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Volunteers make sure families on Rock Island and Milan have the food they need, even if they can’t leave home at the moment.
Pantry to Porch is a new program through the River Bend Food Bank, delivering free food directly to the families’ doors of the Rock Island-Milan school.
Beth McKenna, director of nutrition services at Rock Island High School, says it has been great for students learning at home and for families without transportation to get to a food bank.
“I see a lot of people stepping in and helping,” she says. “From the pantry to the porch is just a bigger benefit for families who can’t go out to get these foods.”
She says families sign up weekly through the River Bend Food Bank. Then the volunteers deliver the food on Wednesday morning. Someone has to be home to accept the food.
“You must see the joy in their faces,” says Dorothy Cotton, who helps deliver the meal through Second Baptist Church on Rock Island. “They say ‘thank you thank you, thank you.’ A lot of times.”
She works with volunteers to deliver meals, up to about two dozen per week. She says it makes all the difference for some of these families.
“A lot of people have lost their jobs, some have lost their homes,” she says. “And that helps. Food is really expensive now.”
Cotton says the program could start to grow quickly as more is talked about. And this comes during a difficult time for many families in the region.
National statistics show that some areas of Rock Island had an unemployment rate of 30% as of August 2020. Meanwhile, statewide it was 10.9% that month.
The River Bend Food Bank claims to have sent over 330 boxes of meals per week in the first eight weeks of Pantry to Porch. The Second Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Jr. Center helped make the deliveries.