Weekend food distribution in Beardstown to end soon

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    The free sandwiches and food given away the last several weekends in Beardstown at the Elks Club will continue for just two more Saturdays, May 23 and May 30 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    “We had declining numbers coming on Sundays. With Memorial Day weekend and moving toward the possible end of the lock-down at the end of May, we figured two more weekends – Saturdays only,” said Frank Shaw of Life Family Church which has been one of the organizers of the event.
    The program, which began in late March, was organized by Life Family Church, the Elks Club and Beardstown School District staff, with donations from local businesses and groups. Shaw said the church and the school district will continue to work together and are planning some food distributions to those in need  this summer.
    “Obviously, there is still going to be a need in the community moving forward,” Shaw said. “We still want to be involved to address that. It will just be a different format.”
    The current food giveaway was initiated shortly after the school closures to help provide weekend meals to students and their families. It began with pork chops donated by JBS and expanded to include donations from Dot Foods and the Central Illinois Food Bank along with contributions and monetary gifts from area churches and others.
    “It’s gone from just pork chop sandwiches and snacks for kids to really quite a bit of groceries for families as they come through,” Shaw said. He noted there is fresh produce from the food bank, donations of nearly 200 loaves of bread from a Jacksonville business and items from Dot Foods. Over the course of the 11 weekends, JBS will have donated nearly 20,000 pork chops by the end of May. The Elks Club has been instrumental in cutting the pork loins and preparing the pork chop sandwiches.
    “We certainly want to thank everyone who has donated and given time or in whatever way they contributed to what we’ve been doing,” Shaw said. “It’s certainly been a community effort. We appreciate everybody’s help.”