By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (September 22, 2022) – “Seven!” said Lansing’s Korey Ziemkowski as she high-fived her dad Kevin outside of the Lansing Public Library on Wednesday, September 21. The pair, along with Ziemkowski’s mom Colleen, had just finished stocking Lansing’s newest micro pantry, the seventh completed by Ziemkowski through her non-profit organization, Girl in Lansing.
The micro pantry will serve local residents in need of basic food items, and is Lansing’s first pantry not located at a church. Those in need are encouraged to take what they would like, and the local community is encouraged to donate food items to keep the pantry stocked.
Seven local micro pantries
“Seven is mind-boggling to me. I had wanted to stop after two. I literally said after I got the second one, ‘Well all Lansing’s covered now, we’ve got two, we’re good.’ So that’s just kind of crazy,” Ziemkowski said, who opened her first micro pantry at First United Methodist Church in the fall of 2020.
Information on all seven of Ziemkowski’s micro pantries is below, in the order in which they were established:
- First United Methodist Church (18420 Burnham Avenue, Lansing — near door 3)
- Bethel Christian Reformed Church (3500 Glenwood Lansing Road, Lansing — near door 14)
- Cornerstone Church (3440 178th Street, Lansing — near the glass doors)
- Christ Our Savior Parish (880 E 154th Street, South Holland — in the back/west parking lot)
- Lighthouse Community Church (17500 Lighthouse Lane, Lansing)
- InnerMission Neighborhood Farm (5502 Claude Avenue, Hammond, IN)
- Lansing Public Library (2750 Indiana Avenue, Lansing — near the lower level back door)
“I think the Lansing Library serves a community that is showing a need for additional resources,” said Beth Bozzo, Director of Youth Services at the Lansing Library. “We have patrons in and out every day that are looking for resources for their family. And for this to be a one-stop-shop, so to speak, is a fantastic opportunity.”
Dedication to the dedicated
Ziemkowski’s two most recent micro pantries have been dedicated to specific individuals. The pantry at InnerMission Neighborhood Farm is dedicated to Joy Arseneau, a local four-year-old battling leukemia.
The Lansing Library’s pantry is dedicated to Linda Kocsis, who passed away in July. Kocsis was the grandmother of a Lansing family who, years ago, fell on hard times and benefitted from one of Ziemkowski’s micro pantries. The family has since fared better, and donated $500 to Girl in Lansing.
“They said, ‘Use this, this is us kind of repaying you for giving us food'” Ziemkowski said. “When the opportunity came for my next pantry I thought I would use that money, and when [Linda] passed away, I said, ‘I’ll do it in honor of her.'”
Ziemkowski — who is a freshman at South Suburban College — has been supported by her family, friends, local community members, churches, businesses, organizations, and others — and she doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
She is already looking toward her next pantry, and is requesting donations from the local community to help make it happen. Supporters can donate in various ways at girlinlansing.net/donate, and can also donate materials for the next pantry. The wishlist includes:
- 2-1/2 inch green screws
- 1-5/8 inch drywall screws
- Roof nails
- Roof shingles
- Neutral paint
- 12×24 inch plexiglass
- Neutral-colored house siding and/or “starter” pieces
- Cabinet knobs
“The impact that I have, I don’t know how much it is. I don’t see the impact on a daily basis, I don’t see the people coming to the pantries. And I don’t need to know,” Ziemkowski said.
Learn more about Ziemkowski and her organization at girlinlansing.net.
- Teenager Korey Ziemkowsi finishes third micro pantry, Lansing’s fourth (December 27, 2020)
- Lansing 16-year-old starts micro pantry (October 16, 2020)