As need continues to surge, Schaumburg Township completes food pantry expansion
Schaumburg Township has completed a $300,000 expansion and renovation of its food pantry, the need for which was identified even before a major uptick in demand created by the pandemic.
The new space at the township's headquarters, 1 Illinois Blvd. in Hoffman Estates, is 4,582 square feet, with areas for shopping, reception and volunteer space.
While the old pantry totaled 150 square feet, the new shopping area alone is about 1,400 square feet.
"During this COVID-19 crisis, we have seen an incredible increase in need for our services, especially in the food pantry," Schaumburg Township Supervisor Tim Heneghan said. "We expect to be helping residents with the COVID fallout for years to come. This is exactly what township government is meant for."
The approved construction bid for the expansion was $204,950. But with change orders and some other ancillary costs, township officials expect the entire project will come in at its originally budgeted $300,000. A grant from the Greater Chicago Food Depository covered $20,000 of the $25,000 cost of the walk-in refrigerator and freezer.
Planned and approved in 2019, the three-month construction ultimately was expedited due to the demand that accompanied the COVID-19 outbreak, officials said.
In April, the pantry experienced a 500% increase in visits over April 2019. The year 2020 ended with 12,959 food pantry visits, compared to 7,494 in 2019.
The additional space allows for the social distancing that enables clients to be served in a more timely manner, and shelf and refrigerator space for products that patrons used to have to ask for individually, such as personal care items, baby food and diapers.
The food pantry's doors are now large enough to accommodate the pallets on which large donations can be delivered.
Heneghan emphasized that the project's completion allows Schaumburg Township to better carry out some aspects of its governmental duties.
"Townships are uniquely situated to respond to challenges the community is facing," he said. "We are the human services safety net for the most vulnerable populations -- those who are often overlooked and left behind. This pantry renovation is already making such an impact in the community and I am proud to provide long-term solutions for our residents."