With the longtime Scott County Food Bank shutting down last week, another group is stepping up to fill the void for the hungry.
Monday morning employees and volunteers at the Scott County Homeless Shelter worked furiously to put the finishing touches on a new pantry. The pantry begins operations Tuesday.
"We had to clear out a few rooms and now we have freezers and shelves in place," said Jerry Voiles, executive director of the Scott County Homeless Shelter. "We're just getting them stocked in anticipation of opening up Tuesday."
The new food pantry started rolling just a few weeks ago when the food bank announced it would shut its doors.
"The Scott County Food Bank was serving about 420 people a month. When you look at the fact that we have 23% unemployment up here, there is definitely a need for this type of service," said Voiles.
The operation will be up and running Tuesday thanks in large part to a group of teenage volunteers from Illinois.
"Our students are on spring break and came down here to volunteer in Appalachia," said Rev. Katie Snipes Lancaster, pastor of the First Congregational Church in Lagrange, IL. "They are really excited about being down here. It is a time to focus on community service and community building along with living out our faith as a church community."
While members of the youth group hope a little backbreaking work will feed the soul, Voiles said their efforts will definitely help feed the hungry in Scott County.
"In terms of faith, Jesus pretty well made it clear that we're supposed to take care of the hungry and homeless and other people who are down on their luck," said Voiles. "We just want to feed the hungry."
Voiles said the pantry needs volunteers to help with deliveries of food to the needy as well as the on-site operations. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Scott County Homeless Shelter at 423-663-3333.