Mendota Food Pantry looking for new home

Local food source has to be out of Main Street building by Sept. 30

By BRANDON LaCHANCE

Staff writer

MENDOTA – From the time they enter the Mendota Area Christian Food Pantry until the time they leave, director Tracy Cooper and her volunteers speak about one thing – the big move.

Cooper and the food pantry found out in the beginning of March that the lease of the pantry’s current location at 918 Main St. in Mendota is not going to be renewed with building owner Salvador Hermosillo.

“We have to find a new home for the pantry. We have to find a new place in Mendota to either rent, buy, or we need to acquire land to build,” Cooper said. “We have to be out of our current location by Sept. 30.”

The Mendota Area Christian Food Pantry began in the basement of Holy Cross Catholic Church in 1987.

It was then moved to the current location on Main Street approximately 30 years ago.

On average, the food pantry serves 115 families and 400 people per month.

“We have looked at a couple of buildings in Mendota. We would like to stay in the downtown area because that’s the most convenient location for our clients,” Cooper said. “We have to have a space of 3,000 square feet or more. So far, we’re not finding anything that would work, ideally. We have to have a door wide enough to bring pallets through.

“We can’t be closed or shut down for any amount of time with as many people and families that need food. The number of new people and the number of people who were clients, stopped coming, but are now back, has increased since the SNAP COVID-19 benefits ended.”

With six months to locate a new home, the food pantry is open to any and all ideas.

Renting or buying an existing property would be the quickest and easiest solution, but if they have to buy property and build, the pantry will.

“At the moment, it’s looking like we’re going to have to buy land because we’re not finding a building. If we buy land and have to build, it’s going to be hard to have it done by September,” Cooper said. “I asked the city about the land where the fire on Main Street happened in August. From what I understand, the city hasn’t acquired the land yet.

“To get land from the town, they can’t give it to us. We would have to pay the appraised value of the land.”

Cooper and the Mendota Area Christian Food Pantry are asking the community for any help, suggestions, or leads for a new home.

If you can help, the food pantry’s number is 815-538-2211 and it is open 8-11 a.m. Tuesday-Friday at 918 Main St.

“If anyone knows of a building, has a building that they would like to lease or sell us, they are more than welcome to get a hold of the Mendota Christian Food Pantry,” Cooper said. “The biggest thing we need from people right now are donations to go toward the new location. The donations are going to be needed to help us move. We have 13 freezers that we need to come with us.

“We’re going to need help from the community to find a place and get moved.”


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