Food pantry opens in SG—young resident helps out

By on October 30, 2009

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Seven-year-old Sugar Grove resident Ty Spillane counted out the $116 on the counter of the Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove before handing it to Melisa Taylor, who has been the force for opening the food pantry in Sugar Grove. Spillane had earned the money for doing chores around the house, yard work, taking care of his little brother, and some had come from his birthday.

The Kaneland John Shields student heard about the food pantry from a flyer sent home with him from school. He and his mother Carrie decided that the pantry would be a good place to donate his money, to help area families who needed it.
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The food pantry will open its doors on Thursday, Nov. 5, in an area on the west side of the Engineering Enterprises, Inc. building off Route 47. Taylor said the pantry will operate in a fashion similar to a grocery store, with individuals able to choose their own items off the shelves

Taylor said that once she decided to open a food pantry in Sugar Grove, people just started showing up to help. EEI donated the space, Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez donated the shelves from the old jail, and Sugar Grove resident and Plan Commission member Jim Eckert was instrumental in physically getting the pantry up and running.

A website design class at Waubonsee Community College is in the process of designing the website. Area churches have offered to provide volunteers to work at the pantry each week.

“It’s really cool how everyone just stepped up,” Taylor said.

The food pantry is named for two friends, Jeff Malewig and Blake Denton, who died last year in a car crash. Taylor said the idea behind the name and the pantry is that we all have to take care of our friends.

She said the area that the food pantry hopes to serve is the Kaneland School District and the Prestbury Subdivision. The criteria for who is eligible to use the food pantry will be fairly open-ended.

“I truly believe that we’re all going to fall in life,” she said. “It’s about how many hands come out to pick you up. We’ve got to take care of each other.”

Taylor said donations are more than welcome. She said that contributions of food are great, but the pantry can make money donations go further by buying its food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Ty told his mother Carrie he hopes that other people will help the food bank when they see that he was able to do it.

“I’ve always told him, ‘If you give, you get back,’” she said. “This was all him. We’re super-proud of him.”

Photo: Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove Executive Director Melisa Taylor waits as 7-year-old Sugar Grove resident Ty Spillane counts out the $116 he is donating to the food pantry, which opens Thursday, Nov. 5. Courtesy Photo