Left Justified: Feeding the hungry and developing the city

By Stanley Campbell

Two things:

The Rock River Valley Pantry (RRVP), in August, provided groceries to 2,975 households. That’s 6,775 individuals, and 38 percent were children!

The registration of new people is up by 23 percent compared to August 2008. Over the last three months, 997 new households have been registered. The oldest client is 92, and the youngest are infants who need formula and baby food.

So, the food pantry is in need of food and volunteers. And Rockford usually responds generously to hungry people.

Kim Adams-Bakke, executive director of the Rock River Valley Pantry (RRVP), needs your help to assist from 1 to 4 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and/or Friday in their “Choice” Pantry area. She says: “Clients select from vegetables, starches, beans and peanut butter, bread, desserts, and miscellaneous specialty items. When we have the Choice area open, we are able to provide an additional day of food to the clients. Most of them leave the RRVP with three days of food versus two days of food when we are providing prepacked bags only. As a volunteer, you would assist clients in the selection of food that is appropriate for the family size and help in the selection of food that the family can use. Minimal lifting!”

To help the Rock River Valley Pantry, give them a call at (815) 965-2466.

Next: Rockford Urban Ministries (for which I work) hosts an open discussion about community development on Seventh Street. The meeting is free and open to the public, Thursday, Sept. 24, beginning at 7 p.m., at Katie’s Cup, 502 Seventh St.

I live on Seventh Street, and I’ve invited Ald. Karen Elyea (D-11) to lead off the program, with an assist from a Community Development, City of Rockford staff person. Dori Kearney, director of JustFoods, the fair trade market, will talk about marketing on Seventh Street. Brad Roos, director of Zion Development Corporation, will share some of his experiences developing Seventh Street, and will offer a tour of the Lantow Building and Lofts.

RUM will also introduce the new Rockford Work Camps director, Michelle Ryan. She leads volunteers in home repairs for indigent families in the neighborhoods. Ryan directed 12 volunteer work crews over the summer months, and with the help of a Community Development grant, repaired 23 homes in the Weed & Seed neighborhoods. Others have been invited to talk about the ins and outs of Seventh Street development, but things are looking up!

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, call me, Stanley Campbell, executive director of RUM, at (815) 964-7111.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the September 16-22, 2009 issue

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