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Food pantry opens at Marengo

Food bank is second in Crawford County

Ed Conway, pastor of Cedar Street Baptist Church at Marengo, straightens the shelves of the new food pantry at the church. The pantry is the second from the Crawford County United Ministries, with the other being at Leavenworth. (Photo by Chris Adams)
May 07, 2008
Crawford Countians needing food assistance no longer have to drive to Leavenworth, as the Crawford County United Ministries has opened a second food pantry at Marengo.

The food pantry, in the basement of Cedar Street Baptist Church, opened Thursday after being stocked with food from The Salvation Army. It currently is scheduled to be open each Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ed Conway, the church's pastor and a member of the United Ministries, said the second food pantry has been a need for some time.

"We talked about it a long time trying to get one started up here at Marengo," he said, explaining overhead costs of a building made it difficult.

However, with the need become greater in recent times as increasing gasoline prices have made it more difficult for people in the English, Marengo and Milltown areas to drive to Leavenworth for food and with Conway's church having extra room, the group decided now was the time to open a second food bank.

"We had the space in our church basement, so we thought, why not?" Conway said.

The Salvation Army got involved after its business manager, Roxanne Haley, was appointed to the United Ministries' advisory council and said a grant for food was possible.

"I get a phone call that says, 'When do you want to open it up?' " Conway said.

Like with the Leavenworth food pantry, located in the basement of the Breeden Memorial Library, those receiving assistance must meet certain income guidelines and are eligible for food once a month, unless there is an emergency.

"We have no intentions of turning anybody away," Conway said. "Our job is to help them."

He said he isn't sure how many people will utilize the new food pantry, but Gail Reyling, who oversees the one at Leavenworth, which is open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., said as many as 25 families visit there each week.

Conway said The Salvation Army, which provided shelving, a new refrigerator and a new freezer in addition to frozen bread and boxes of canned goods, will likely help keep the new food pantry stocked for a while. However, like the Leavenworth food pantry, the Marengo facility will rely on donations and the Hoosier Hills Food Bank in Bloomington for assistance, he said.

As pastor of Cedar Street Baptist Church, Conway said he is excited about the opportunities provided by having the food pantry in the church.

"It gives us a big opportunity," he said.

While the food pantry, located at 220 Cherry St., will initially be open on Thursdays, Conway said it may switch to Saturdays depending on the needs of those utilizing the food pantry.

However, while both food pantries are open just one day a week, other arrangements can be made in case of an emergency. For Marengo, call Conway at 365-2177; for Leavenworth, call Reyling at 739-2785.

Persons who would like to volunteer at the Marengo food pantry should call Conway.

Conway said the United Ministries has considered opening a third food pantry in the western end of the county, but it financially isn't possible right now.

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