Manhattan Township – Grant-Funded Food Pantry Improvements

May 4, 2024

Feeding the Community

Manhattan Township

Amount Awarded: $68,380 | Project Status: Completed Winter 2023

The improvements to the Manhattan Township Building, made possible by Will County ARPA Funding, have made a positive impact on their community and the volunteers who help organize the food pantry. The Manhattan Food Pantry serves approximately 60 households each month, many of which are home to residents with disabilities and single mothers. With new LED overhead lighting, their volunteers are now able to work in the cold storage shed which provides more space for them to prepare care packages prior to pick-up days. New overhead doors on either end of the building allow families to drive through the building to receive their food donations without having to exit their vehicles. This is especially beneficial during the winter months or during inclement weather.

Prior to the working doors, their residents had to wait outside the Township building and make multiple trips to their car with boxes and bags of supplies. A new, steel roof has allowed the food pantry to expand its storage space into a clean, dry environment for its increase in food, medical and sanitary supplies. One of the biggest benefits of the renovation project is making the drive-thru food pantry a permanent system and reducing wait time for residents to receive their resources while at Township Building.

The Manhattan Township completed the upgrades to its Cold Storage Building in the winter of 2023. The Cold Storage Building is adjacent to the Manhattan Township Community Hall and serves as the housing for the Township Food Pantry. The enhancements consisted of a new roof, new LED lighting, new overhead doors, drainage repairs and a reconstructed parking lot. With the new upgrades to the building, the Manhattan Township can now permanently offer a drive-thru system for the residents that utilize the food pantry resources.

Serving the Community

The Manhattan Township Food Pantry was started in November 1997 as a project by the Manhattan Girl Scouts of Trailways Council. Since then, it has become a reliable and well-organized resource for families because of the dedication by local volunteers.

The Food Pantry is stored at the Manhattan Township Building located at 230 S. Wabash Street to serve their community on the first and third Monday of each month from 6:30—7:30 p.m. Economic conditions are such that many families need assistance. Their community is growing and so is the need for a place where people can come for help. The food pantry is funded through private donations and supported by the Manhattan Township Supervisor’s Office. It continues to be a vital part of the support system that residents can count on in a time of need. The Manhattan Food Pantry serves approximately 60 household each month.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the food pantry volunteers needed to find a way to continue serving those in-need while adhering to the state-mandated safety protocols. With a little, out-of-the-box thinking, we modeled our drive-thru system off a similar method used during the electronic recycling night at our building. Once established, we immediately saw the benefits and knew we needed to make it a permanent system. Thankfully, because of the ARPA funding we received from Will County, our cold storage building received the necessary updates quicker than our budget would have allowed for. Now our food pantry volunteers can provide services to our families in a warm, safe space every month from here on out.”

Jim Walsh, Supervisor