CSC food pantry March 25

Sue Pegues, a volunteer at the Community Service Center food pantry in Rantoul, said she looks forward to volunteering at the pantry each week. Many volunteers, most of whom are senior citizens, have postponed coming in over fears of COVID-19. The food pantry continues to provide food, but not on a walk-in basis.

RANTOUL — Sue Pegues looks forward to her time volunteering at the Community Service Center food pantry.

“I can’t wait for Wednesday to come,” she said, adding that she enjoys talking to the people.

The food pantry remains open, but the distribution is different during these days of the COVID-19 scare.

People are no longer allowed in, but those needing food can call the pantry and it will be brought out to them in the parking lot east of the CSC building.

“We will take information from them and push a shopping cart out to the parking lot to them,” Director Andy Kulczycki said. “Then we return the cart and wipe it down. Our focus is to try to lower the risk of exposure, not just for us but for our clients and our volunteers.”

Kulczycki said a number of food pantry volunteers have canceled coming in.

“Most of our volunteers are seniors,” he said. “We kind of anticipated that.”

Speaking last Wednesday, Kulczycki said 31 households called for food last Monday. That number dropped a little bit the next day. On a normal day, the pantry serves 20 to 25 households.

This Saturday’s food giveaway at CSC, sponsored by St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Gifford has been canceled.  

CSC is also cutting back its hours — now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 A number of social service agencies that use the CDC offices have also called off their services. Instead, they are dealing with people by phone or online.

“A variety of networking meetings I attend are canceled,” Kulczycki said. “People are taking this very seriously.”

Peace Meals, which are also served in the CSC building, are no longer served on site. Instead, the meals are delivered to seniors.

CSC has also eliminated copy, fax and notary republic services for the time being.

“We just want to avoid people coming through our office as much as possible,” he said.

He said people’s moods vary.

“Some people don’t act like it’s going to be that big of a deal,” Kulczycki said. “My staff is stressed out. Everybody’s just a little on edge. Apparently that’s the reason people are hoarding the toilet paper.”