Quad-Cities’ River Bend Food Bank to Open a New Branch in Galesburg
The Davenport-based River Bend Food Bank and Galesburg Community Foundation are partnering to bring a new regional food bank branch
to Galesburg. The branch will provide greater access to more nutritious and perishable foods for more than 50 food pantries in eight Illinois counties.
It will supply food for not only the Community Foundation’s service area of Knox and Warren counties, but also Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, McDonough and Stark counties.
In addition to the River Bend Food Bank, Galesburg Branch, FISH of Galesburg will re-locate to the space, allowing for greater guest access and allow FISH to increase their pantry offerings. Guests of FISH Food Pantry will continue to have their needs met from FISH’s current location until construction on the new location is complete.
The new branch will be at the corner of Main and Henderson streets in Galesburg, in the former Rheinschmidt’s Carpet Center.
Galesburg Community Foundation purchased the building in December 2020, and River Bend Food Bank will be a 15-year tenant of the property, with the opportunity for multiple lease renewals after the initial 15 years. The location was chosen after years of monitoring available real estate opportunities.
This specific location was selected as it provides easier access for the service area to obtain fresh produce and frozen protein and will reduce the amount of time spent by area food pantries that currently must pick up food to distribute from River Bend’s Q-C location, at 4010 Kimmel Drive, Davenport.
“We know that food insecurity is a major issue plaguing our region and Covid-19 certainly highlighted this,” Joshua Gibb, president & CEO of Galesburg Community Foundation, said in a Tuesday release.
“Drawing from our experiences over the past year, combined with years of information gathering and conversations, we are so pleased to see this opportunity come to life. Not only will this valuable partnership with River Bend Food Bank more effectively serve our community
members, but it also brings additional great opportunities — such as a rejuvenated property, jobs, partnerships, collaboration and access,” he said.
“The Community Foundation is proud to prompt this important partnership to become reality. It’s another incredible example of the power of philanthropy making a difference.”
“After years of many people dreaming about this project, River Bend Food Bank is excited to be opening a Galesburg branch,” Mike Miller, president/CEO of River Bend Food Bank, said in the release.
“Of our current partner agencies, 50 are located closer to Galesburg than to Davenport, many considerably so,” he said. “The hope is that this initiative will make it easier for us to work together, putting an end to hunger not only in Knox, but Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, Stark, and Warren counties.”
River Bend Food Bank works with 300+ partner agencies in 23 counties to make sure people facing hunger have reliable access to healthy food. Leading the community-wide effort
to eliminate hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois, the Food Bank distributes over 20 million meals each year to hungry people through food pantries, schools, senior residences, and community organizations.
“The convenience of this new location might encourage others to partner with us,” Miller said. “We are also excited to welcome the FISH Food Pantry as a partner in this project, given their long history of fighting hunger in the community. We are so thankful to the many people from the community who developed this vision and to the Galesburg Community Foundation for helping make this possible.”
FISH of Galesburg is an emergency food pantry which has helped feed the hungry of Knox County since 1970. The mission of FISH is to provide food for those in need. Food items distributed include non-perishable and frozen foods as well as vouchers for milk and eggs to individuals and families who contact the pantry for assistance. FISH seeks to provide enough food to support an individual or family for a three-to-five-day period of time.
“We cannot be more excited about the opportunity to relocate to a more accessible location,”
Diane Copeland, president of FISH of Galesburg, said in the release.
“We have had a need for greater pantry space for years and we will finally get that. Our goal is to provide the most nutritious and accessible food that we can and relocating to this new location will make that possible,” she said. “This is a huge step for the future of FISH and ultimately the guests we serve.”
Galesburg Community Foundation, FISH of Galesburg and River Bend Food Bank are in initial stages of remodeling the former Rheinschmidt’s Carpet Center.
Galesburg Mayor John Pritchard, who has been involved for many years in the conversations surrounding food insecurity said, “It is great to see this project move forward to reality. Projects like this happen because different partners come together in our community to make things happen,
“In this case, nonprofits/philanthropy organizations and local government have worked together to bring this valuable addition to the community” the mayor said.
“We currently serve the counties that will now have a new branch to get their food from, but we will be hiring a full staff at that location to manage operations and deliveries regularly,” Liz Dierolf, River Bend’s marketing and strategic communications manager, said Tuesday.
“Obviously, we will have construction crews hired as well to complete all the renovations, so we’re excited for this opportunity to be better involved with the southern part of our service area,” she said, noting they hope to open the new branch by late 2021.
To follow the project’s progress and learn more about this partnership, visit http://www.yourgcf.org/FoodBranch. For more information on the participating agencies, visit https://riverbendfoodbank.org and https://fishofgalesburg.org.