For the past two years, Chris Bowman has been pastor of The Church of Biblical Education. It is located off Florida Road in Coal City.
About a year ago, Bowman saw the need to reach out to people in the community with a food pantry.
“I have often heard you have to feed someone’s body so you can feed their soul,” Bowman said. “That’s what we want to accomplish.”
The church goes through Feed America and the Community Food Bank. They have a small 12 foot x 16 foot building that has been fixed up to store the food.
“We get a lot of food that is donated by local businesses,” Bowman said. “Some of the grocery stores are real good about donating things, and we are very appreciative of that.”
Bowman said they are able to serve anyone who comes to them.
“They will leave with some kind of food,” he said. “We really try to reach out and stretch our funds to help the local community and those in need.”
Bowman said the cost of the food is 13 cents per pound, so basically for $1, they are able to purchase 7.5 pounds of food.
“A dollar goes a long way with us,” Bowman said. “We stretch it, and try to make it work.”
With the planning stage and approval process taking about a year to go through, the church actually started its food pantry just last month, the second weekend in May.
“We went through all the training, and got everything set up,” Bowman said. “Our food orders are delivered in. Our first pick-up, we had about 30 turkeys and 30 hams.”
Bowman said it is so important to help the community around them.
“There are people out there who just need a little extra help to make it to the end of the month,” he said. “In our first month, we served about 300 people. We have more people calling and responding to it.”
Bowman said it is not all about feeding the body, however, they are concerned as well about feeding the soul.
“Sometimes when people come to pick up food, they also need someone just to talk to,” Bowman said. “We try to offer a little bit of counseling.
Food is given out on the second and fourth consecutive Fridays and Saturdays of each month. On Fridays, the
hours are 3 p.m.-7 p.m. On Saturdays, hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
“So far, this has been a real blessing for the people around us,” Bowman said. “We have a school group through our church and the kids do a lot of community service. It is really good to see our young kids at work.”
Bowman said thus far, they have given out just over 5,000 pounds of food in only four days.