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Lansing Food Pantry nourishes community

New volunteers and donations welcomed year-round

by Katie Arvia

Lansing Food Pantry
The shelves of the Lansing Community Food Pantry are stocked by thoughtful members of the Lansing community. But at this time of year, the shelves begin to run empty. (Photo: Katie Arvia)
LANSING, Ill. (October 2017) – For over 35 years, the Lansing Community Food Pantry has been serving residents in need. Every Tuesday morning, volunteers donate their time to assist with grocery carry-outs, stock shelves, fill out paperwork, and do other tasks vital to the pantry’s success. Although the pantry is located in the lower level of the Lansing Assembly of God, it is considered separate from the church and is run entirely by the Lansing community.

“I got involved because I wanted to do something to serve my own community,” said Karen Adams, co-chairman of the pantry, who has been a volunteer for 17 years.

What makes the Lansing Community Food Pantry so unique is the fact that it is a “full choice” pantry, meaning families in need choose each item they take home, a luxury Adams says very few pantries have. Although many donations come in the form of non-perishable food items, personal care products such as toothpaste, deodorant, or toilet paper are also accepted. Monetary donations are always appreciated, which are used to purchase items that are not frequently donated, such as flour, sugar, and canned meats.

Lansing Food Pantry
Judy Nearpass and Barb Lessner write down the specialty items that the pantry has in stock this day. (Photo: Katie Arvia)

Dribs and drabs

In fact, Adams says that from May until Thanksgiving, the pantry receives very little donations at all. As of this writing, the shelves are “getting low on stock,” says volunteer Bob Barnes.

“It just comes in dribs and drabs after the post office food drive. School’s out, organizations don’t meet,” Adams explained.

Community generosity

Despite the dry spell throughout summer, Adams says the pantry has never needed to have a fundraiser, thanks to the generosity of the Lansing community.

“The community is incredibly generous to us. The Greater Chicago Food Depository is blown away by what we do here…. This is a blue-collar community and people have stepped up in an awesome way,” Adams said.

With the holidays approaching, the food pantry is planning Thanksgiving dinner donations as well. Folks will have the choice of a Lencioni’s-prepared meal, a basket delivered by the Lions Club, or a turkey pick-up during their regular pantry visit day.

Serving Lansing community

People in need are encouraged to visit the food pantry on Tuesdays from 11am-1pm. Some paperwork and an interview are required for new guests, but two bags of food will be given to those visiting for the first time.

“We only serve Lansing residents—we try to really see that the donations go to people who are truly in need,” Adams said.

Currently, the pantry serves about 120 people and has 35 volunteers, including Janet Peterson and her son Jai, who have both been volunteering with the pantry for over a year.

“It’s like family here,” Peterson said, summing up their time with the pantry.

Ways to help

Anyone interested donating, volunteering, or learning more should contact Karen Adams at 708-895-3807. The food pantry welcomes new volunteers and accepts donations year-round.

“We are helping people in a time of need. Maybe they lost their job, maybe they’re ill. We certainly can’t meet their entire food needs, but we can supplement, and in a pretty good way. That frees up some of the money they do have, so they can pay their electric bills, so they can pay their rent,” Adams said. “Plus, it’s something that really draws the community together.”

Katie Arvia
Katie Arvia
Katie is a lifelong Lansing native who currently works full-time in marketing while also freelance reporting for The Lansing Journal. In 2015, she graduated with high honors from Saint Xavier University in Chicago with a BA in English, and she plans to pursue a Master's degree in the near future. Her favorite Lansing Journal assignments include coverage of TF South High School's walkout ("Demonstrating the possibilities") and her St. Patrick's Day interview with her grandma ("St. Patrick's Day traditions: reflections of an Irish granddaughter").


  1. Thanks for the great article, Katie. I wold add that I love giving tours of the pantry. Call me, Karen, and I’ll be happy to set up a time. You’ll be surprised at what you see!

    • Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me. I really enjoyed visiting the pantry and meeting all of the wonderful volunteers. 🙂

  2. Many thanks to Pastor Bob Neuman and the members of the Lansing Assembly of God Church for making their building available for this worthwhile endeavor.

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