NORTH LIBERTY– Their shovels runneth over.
Members of the North Liberty Community Food and Clothing Pantry board had much to celebrate last week, as they conducted a ceremonial groundbreaking to mark the beginning of construction on a 2,376 sq. ft. facility that has been the goal of a $250,000 capital campaign since March 2011.
They also learned on Wednesday morning the pantry was accepted as a United Way organization,
And finally, they were celebrating a $25,000 donation from Centro, Inc. of North Liberty.
It was the donation that tipped the fundraising effort into the black.
Initially running out of a closet in the North Liberty First United Methodist Church in 1985, and later moving to a Morton building on church grounds, the pantry has grown to accommodate between 400 and 500 visits each month.
Often, the pantry ran short on storage room, there was little space to keep fresh or frozen foods, and no bathroom for volunteers or patrons. The building lacked a private office space to meet with families, and often, clients had to wait outside in rain, cold and snow on distribution days.
The new building will fix all that.
Pantry Director Tina DuBois was the first to speak to a gathered crowd last Wednesday, thanking dozens of individuals and businesses for their support.
“This definitely has been a community-wide effort,” DuBois said. “The pantry board has been so instrumental in making it happen. They were able to see the vision.” She also thanked the North Liberty City Council for its continued annual contributions, as well as a $15,000 donation earmarked to puchase a large freezer. Other large donors include Hills Bank & Trust, Transamerica, Guy and Marty Rosenberg and Dan’s Overhead Doors & More.
The groundbreaking ceremony also gave the opportunity for others to speak, including First United Methodist Church Pastor Alecia Williams, who read a passage from the book of Micah in the Christian Bible.
“ And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God,” Williams quoted. “That is what I see happening here. I love that this (mission) has extended beyond the First United Methodist Church. For we all know, if there is a brother, sister or child that is hungry, we are all a part of that family.”
Southgate Construction of Iowa City is the contractor on the facility, and Vice President of Property Development Glenn Siders said the company was determined to be the low bidder on the project.
“We made a conscious decision to give back to the community that has been so good to us,” Siders said. The new building is expected to be completed within three to four months.
Perhaps before the holidays.
“Wouldn’t that be a great Christmas gift?” DuBois said.