Sycamore Food Pantry strives to provide meals for kids, families during the summer months

By Kelli Duncan For Chronicle Media

Marlin Anderson, co-coordinator of the Sycamore Food Pantry, prepares to stock shelves with canned goods. The pantry, at Sycamore United Methodist Church, has been open for 25 years and he has volunteered there for 12 years. (Photo courtesy Sycamore Food Pantry)

Sycamore United Methodist Church offering a hand to low-income families in Sycamore this summer through a weekly food pantry and food drive.

The Sycamore Food Pantry, which operates out of Sycamore United Methodist Church, held a food drive from July 1-15 where local businesses offered special discounts to anyone who brought in food donations.

Co-coordinator of the Sycamore Food Pantry, Marlin Anderson, said the food drive was a success.

“If you get one item, it’s always successful,” Anderson said. “We were pleased, we’re always pleased with anything we get.”

Among the businesses that participated were the Midwest Museum of Natural History, Princess Alex Ice Cream, The Garden Market and Cassie’s Corn Crib Cafe.

Although the food drive has ended, Anderson said there are still many ways to get involved. He said the pantry always accepts monetary donations as well as food donations.

“We take all kinds of food,” Anderson said. “Particularly this time of year, if people have excess from their gardens they’ll bring in that kind of stuff which is great.”

Anderson said it is especially important to support food pantries like theirs in the summertime when kids can no longer rely on school meals during the day.

“Children are at the mercy of their parents to fix them a meal and if the parents aren’t around then that’s a problem,” Anderson said. “It’s very important that there be food available for these children in the summertime.”

The Sycamore Food Pantry is also always looking for new volunteers to donate their time to fighting hunger in the community.

“It takes a village to run a food pantry,” Anderson said. “…We’re always looking for new volunteers.”

Anderson said they need the most help on Mondays when the food pantry is open from noon to 4 p.m.

He said clients can come in and pick out what they need based on the number of people in their family.

“It’s a choice food pantry so it’s like a little grocery store,” Anderson said. “We stock 40-50 standard items and we keep those shelves filled so if we don’t receive something from a donation, we go buy it.”

Anderson said clients can come once a month and leave with enough food to last them about a week.

“Some of them are extremely grateful, some of them are in tears,” Anderson said. “The need is tremendous.”

Anderson said the Sycamore Food Pantry has been open for 25 years and he has volunteered there for 12 years.

“Unfortunately, our world is such that the need for food never goes away,” Anderson said. “We can read about how good the economy is but it doesn’t trickle down to the people who need the food pantry.”

Anderson said Sycamore United Methodist Church also has a “coat pantry” which is open during the winter months from mid-October to mid-March. He said they accept donations of new or used coats.

“At Thanksgiving, we put together boxes of meals with a turkey and all the trimmings for all of our clients as well,” Anderson said.

To learn more about how to get involved, visit: