Beloit food pantry plans to move, expand
If you go
What: Volunteer work day
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12
Where: 2840 Prairie Ave., Beloit, which is the future location of Caritas food pantry and clothing donation center.
What’s going to happen: “Controlled demolition” of the old building. Walls need to be torn down and the restrooms gutted. Lunch will be provided.
If you’re interested: Call (608) 362-4403 to sign up.
BELOIT Caritas always has room for donations.
At least, in spirit, they do.
The problem is the shelves often are packed full at the food pantry and clothing donation center at 1175 Madison Road, Beloit.
Space is limited, but not for long.
Caritas is getting ready to move into a former daycare center at 2840 Prairie Ave., Beloit. The new location is across from the Beloit Clinic on Huebbe Parkway in Beloit Township. The move will increase the center’s size by 50 percent and provide more parking for clients and donors, spokesman Greg Starling said.
Caritas serves families that live north of Rockford, Ill., and south of Janesville. Families may come to Caritas once a month for emergency food and clothing, Assistant Director Yolanda Peer said. The center provides money for some prescription medications and bus tokens for trips to the Rock County Job Center or rides home from Caritas.
On a recent weekday afternoon, the center’s small waiting room was full of families waiting for groceries. Moms shushed fussy toddlers. Clients helped strangers load groceries into each other’s cars.
Four volunteers packed orders one at a time. They loaded fresh produce, frozen beef, canned goods and toiletries into brown paper bags.
In a back room, clothing was packed onto rolling racks. Shoes lined shelves. A small storage area held diapers and garbage bags full of donated clothing.
As workers get ready for the transition to Beloit’s north side, they’re keeping open minds to changes that could improve services. Peer and Starling said a 24-hour donation bin or cloth grocery bags could be options.
“Basically, we’ll see what happens when we get in there,” Starling said.
The expansion will provide space for more donations in a greater variety, Peer said. Sometimes families need things such as dishes or other household items, but Caritas has not had the room to store them, she said.
Caritas workers are asking for volunteers to help tear down walls and gut rooms in the new location during a Saturday, Sept. 12, work day.
Reconstruction plans are out for bid. It could be early 2010 before the center is ready to move, Starling said. The center doesn’t have plans for a reconstruction donation drive, but donations always are welcome, he said.
After all, the need has been on the rise, Peer said. The center has been serving 25 families daily and has been seeing new faces almost daily, she said.
“We’re getting a lot of new people who are very glad there is a place they can get food,” Peer said. “They’re using their funds to pay utilities and rent.”
GIVE OR GET HELP
Caritas, 1175 Madison Road, Beloit, serves families that live north of Rockford and south of Janesville. Families may come in once a month for food or clothing in an emergency.
The center will be moving to Prairie Avenue in Beloit Township in early 2010. In the meantime, it will be business as usual at the Madison Road location.
The free clothing room is open from 10 to 11:30 a.m. weekdays. The food pantry is open from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Bring your drivers license or state identification card.
Donations of clothes, cash, food, diapers and toiletries may be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Checks may be mailed or dropped off at Caritas, 1175 Madison Road, Beloit, WI, 53511. If you would like to donate specifically toward reconstruction of the future center on Prairie Ave., mark your check “building fund.”