Like so many of our partner agencies, Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin traces its roots back to one determined individual who saw a problem and took it upon herself to find a solution.
More than 60 years ago, Elsie Dixon began a local food pantry out of the back of her truck that evolved into the agency that today feeds and provides clothes for 100 to 125 families every week.
The Hardin agency serves all of Calhoun County, Ill., a mostly rural area where farming is the predominant form of employment. The clients served represent a mix of ages, but skews toward senior households rather than young families.
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin operates a food pantry that clients can visit once per week. In addition to food, the agency provides clothing and shoes for clients. They also host a community Thanksgiving dinner for individuals without nearby relatives. Closer to Christmas, they sponsor an angel tree program for kids in conjunction with two local banks, several schools and local churches. Homebound clients receive food through the agency’s “Neighbor to Neighbor” program, with neighbors or a relative serving as a proxy to take food to people unable to get to the pantry site.
Food is distributed each Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the pantry volunteers are in their late 70s or early 80s.
“I guess the biggest change I’ve seen in the past six months to a year is the return of past clients who had become self-sufficient but now find themselves needing help again,” says Manager Vera Droege. “As we head into the winter months, folks are going to be struggling to stretch their budget to cover heating costs.”
“We really depend on the St. Louis Area Foodbank to keep our doors open,” notes Droege. “We would be hardpressed to provide people with nutritious meals without this important resource. It is our primary source of food. We are so grateful to the many donors who support the Foodbank, which then supports our pantry.”
Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois at Hardin
208A S. County Rd., Hardin, IL 62047
This article was featured in the December 2014 Newsletter.