Although the Kid’s Pantry at Christian Life Church in Mount Prospect is operating with limited capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, the need and the response continues.
Distribution is currently managed by reception at the curb.
The nonprofit organization is a ministry of the church. It focuses on the needs of newborns for high school students, according to Heather Dymond, volunteer coordinator.
The Pantry provides the community with used clothing, children’s equipment and donated toys to ease the financial burden in these tough economic times. With photo ID and after a token donation, parents arrive at the pantry on designated days to receive items for their children. Donations are received 24/7 at the back of the church at 400 E. Gregory St. They monitor Facebook ads at www.facebook.com/TheKidsPantry to know when the gifts are.
The Kid’s Pantry was founded 12 years ago by Jody Bechtold and Stephanie Johanson, both mothers and church members. Bechtold created a sharing closet by bringing his children’s clothes to church. She put them on shelves and in banker’s boxes and told people to take what they needed for their children.
“It was from there that it developed. The church generously provides space for storage and incoming donations, ”Bechtold said. “Before COVID, we were open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parents came with one bag per child for linens, books and toys. Then COVID shut us down 100%. We were unable to receive donations. We have set up five non-perishable food collection sites in houses in different suburbs. Once we (Illinois) hit phase 4, we started receiving donations and placing them in a shed behind the building. We empty it daily.
Bechtold mentioned that the pre-COVID children’s pantry had a spring and fall gift, which helped about 2,000 children each gift. Not only has the number of children grown to 5-7,000 per year, the Kid’s Pantry is working with school districts in Mount Prospect and surrounding communities. There are no boundaries for who can receive the gifts. Bechtold said it wouldn’t be fair to the kids. Families as far as Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin are receiving help.
“Now every week we help 50 to 60 families a week. We still have food donations and we’ve expanded to non-perishable foods, ”Bechtold said.
Having had to abandon their warehouse for financial reasons, three trucks full of toys and baby equipment were given as a parking giveaway on August 29. It was no small task to organize. Everything has been given.
Bechtold said, in terms of volunteers, there are three regulars: her, Johanson and Dymond. Each week, four or five other mothers come to sort the gifts and prepare them for the gifts. Three of the mothers are church members. The rest are residents who want to give back to their community.