The C4 Food Pantry is looking to expand its outreach in the Chase County community as it moves to a larger location this year.
Currently located at 418 Cottonwood St., in the former Methodist parsonage, the pantry is moving to the former St. Anthony’s Hall, located at 601 Elm St., in Strong City.
Manager Dawn Robinson said it was the move represented a needed expansion for the pantry. They have been exploring a move for awhile.
“The number of people we help has doubled over the years, so we were kind of outgrowing the space,” she said.
Robinson said the Chase County Care and Compassion Board of Directors — which oversees the pantry — had already been discussing a possible move into a location with more usable space.
“Then when St. Anthony’s built their new building, they had this kind of sitting here empty,” she said. “We were talking about buying a steel building, and then it was like, ‘Wow, this building is sitting here.’ So it just kind of took off and grew from there.”
Marvin Adcock, a member of St. Anthony’s, said there are several members of the church who help out at the pantry. When the church built its new parish hall, they were left with a decision to make about the old hall. Adcock said they approached the diocese to see if donating the building to the pantry would be an option.
“We thought it would make the perfect location,” he said. “It’s all on the main drag, it’s easier to get stuff in and out and there’s a lot more parking than what they have [on Cottonwood Street].”
Adcock said the diocese just asked that the C4 Food Pantry pay insurance on the building, utilities and perform upkeep on the building. The diocese will retain ownership of the land.
“That’s what they’re doing now, so they were all for it,” he said.
The church is working to make some improvements to the building as C4 moves in.
The new location will be set up like a grocery store, making it far more user friendly for those coming in for distribution days each month. Some shelving has already been set up, with more set to be donated.
Adcock said discussions have been had with Good’s Cash Saver about shelving. The store, he said, has some spare units in storage.
They are also seeking shopping carts to help enhance the grocery store experience — and make it easier for people coming through.
Right now, customers receive a box in which to collect their items each month.
“Everybody is really excited about the move and our customers are excited,” Robinson said. “If you’ve ever been through one of our distribution days, you carry a box, and that box by the time you get to the end, is pretty heavy. We’re trying to make that a little easier and we’ll have room to maybe even expand some of the services we can offer down the road.”
Customers who come in do not need to provide proof of income — the only requirement to receive services is to be a Chase County resident.
“You come in, tell us your name and how many people are in your household and that’s basically all the information we require,” Robinson said. “Depending on the number of people in your household, there’s a set amount we give out.”
Customers receive fresh milk, eggs, margarine and a variety of fruits and vegetables and meats that are supplied by area ranchers and the Kansas Food Bank.
Donations of food items is always appreciated, as well as monetary donations. The pantry purchases milk, butter and eggs each month for distribution.
“We never turn down a donation of any kind,” Robinson said. “We just have to be sure that everything’s still usable.”
C4 Food Pantry currently has a number of outreach programs. One is the popular Friday Foods bags that are delivered to designated students at Chase County Elementary School and Chase County Junior/High School. Robinson said there will now be a dedicate space for that program.
“We will continue doing our outreach [for customers who don’t drive] and we’re wanting to expand it farther out into the community,” she added. “Right now, we basically do Strong City and Cottonwood Falls, but we’re wanting to reach out farther and get into the areas that are a little farther out and get to areas like Matfield Green, Elmdale, Cedar Point. That’s one of our goals for the short-term future.”
The next distribution date is set for Feb. 5 and Robinson said the goal is to have distribution out of the new location.
“We have a workday planned for next Sunday to do the physical labor of moving the product from down there to here,” she said. “That will give us a couple weeks to get situated and set up and kind of feel out our new space.”
Robinson thanked Kansas Graphics for printing a new sign for the pantry, which is mounted over the main entrance of the new building.
For more information about C4 Food Pantry or to inquire about making donations, you can call 620-412-3015 or message the pantry @C4FoodPantry on Facebook.