“In only 44 days during 2011, Life Center Food Pantry fed nearly 30,000 nutritionally neglected men, women and children from the Rockford region,” said Angela Harris, director of Business Development for Life Center. “Hunger in our community has risen to a whole new level. According to Feeding America, Winnebago County is in the top five counties in the state with the highest food insecurity rate.
“The Life Center Food Pantry experienced a nearly 14 percent increase in client utilization from the year 2010 to 2011, and is expecting another drastic increase in 2012,” Harris continued. “Last year, support received from the Walmart Foundation, Woodward Governor Charitable Trust, the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, and the General Mills Foundation ensured our ability to effectively provide nutritional assistance to our growing hunger population, which otherwise could have been severely compromised.
“Financially unstable families, the working poor, the elderly, homeless, and children are the new faces of hunger that utilize Life Center services regularly,” Harris said. “We have taken a unique approach when it comes to meeting the physical needs of clients. Our goal is to provide a hand-up, not just a hand-out when providing daily living necessities, in hopes the opportunity is presented for emotional and spiritual needs to be met as well.”
Rockford Life Center is at 921 W. State St. No. 4, Rockford.
“Life Center’s geographic location has a heavy impact on those residing in and around the area, as most of our clients are considered poverty stricken and are without transportation,” Harris said.
In addition to providing food, Life Center also provides its clients with hygiene products, over-the-counter medications, clothing, furniture, baby necessities and household items.
Additional programming includes serving as home of the Tools for School Drive & Pencils in the Park — the distribution of 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies; home of Mighty X Ministries — a program to assist ex-offenders re-acclimate into society post-incarceration: a Tutoring Club —one-on-one faith-based tutoring for disadvantaged students; and Breakout Kids — a summer kids club.
Rockford Life Center can be reached at (815) 964-4966.
From the Feb. 29-March 6, 2012, issue