It has been a full, exciting week for us as we began operating as the Food Bank of Elkhart County (FBEC). (To review our original post about this new role you can read it here). You might remember that last Monday we officially opened our doors to our very first clients, Christ’s Commissary, Inc. Thanks to Shelley Rose and her staff for getting us started!
And yesterday morning, the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate this new beginning. And it definitely was a celebration! In a complete shock to us, Lilly’s Party, Inc. joined in the celebration by congratulating us with a 5 ft. tall balloon character. It brought a huge smile to our faces and helped get us into the joyful spirit. The smiles continued as many excited visitors came to celebrate with us and check out our new set-up.
Rod Roberson, our executive director, thanked everyone for coming and offered up his hope for our operation as the FBEC:
1) It will serve over 35 local food pantries and hot meal sites.
2) It will distribute millions of pounds of food to be offered to households in poverty.
3) It will increase pantry collaboration within the county.
4) It will improve supplier relationships.
5) And it will increase the presence of Feeding America resources within Elkhart County.
After Rod spoke, many distinguished guests offered up supportive messages for both Church Community Services and the Food Bank of Elkhart County. Mayor Richard Moore and Kyle Hannon, Chamber of Commerce President, brought the blessings of the city of Elkhart. Milt Lee, Food Bank of Northern Indiana Executive Director, shared about the importance of this new relationship. On behalf of our building fund donors, Craig Fulmer joined us as well. Ed Chester, our current board chair, also gave a message of thanks and hope. Each of these gentlemen offered words of appreciation for the impact this new role will have on those in our community who struggle with hunger.
The morning ended with Mary Kneller, Food Services Director, offering a tour of both the Food Bank and the Food Pantry to all those who were interested. Everyone left excited about where we are heading in regards to helping those in need. However, with the addition of this new venture, we are continually in need volunteers. So please contact us if you have any time that you are able to share. Overall it was an exciting morning of celebrating new opportunities for us as an organization as well as celebrating the creation of a new stream of food resources for those in need!