ELKHART – It's been three years in the making, but Church Community Services in Elkhart has finally completed work on a major expansion project.
On Tuesday, CCS opened a new food pantry and warehouse that will double its space to help feed families in need.
A number of people were on hand for the dedication of the new facility that sits on the CCS campus on Oakland Ave., an existing building that was renovated to help the needs of the hungry, a move that became necessary as the faith-based agency needed more leg room to provide services.
“The pantry is double the size, and the warehouse is double the size,” said Director of Food Services Mary Kneller. “This is the opening of a three-year dream. It is so emotional and moving.”
The food pantry has been streamlined to improve service, including the addition of walk-in freezers to hold meat and some dairy products. The idea is to make it more of a grocery store setting.
“They have a choice. It is a dignified way to deal with the element of food and poverty,” said CCS Director Rod Roberson.
Clients have a waiting area. They check in and are assigned a number to take a cart and choose the food they want.
A lot of effort, time and volunteer work the last couple of years went into the expansion project to reach this point. The goal is to help better serve those in need with dignity as they always have.
It’s like shopping in a store,” said pantry client Tammy Ratliff. “It’s clean and more organized, and I feel more welcome here.”
“The building on the inside itself is beautiful, the people are nice. They have always been nice,” said Prella Jackson, also a client of the pantry.
It’s a dream come true for staffers and clients.