Randy Bynum, Amy Oxford, Dana Hoover and Scott Quinn of Heaven’s Kitchen stocked the Blessing Houses that day.
By Jennifer Lane
When faced with food insecurities, residents of Hardin County are now blessed with a new resource thanks to several community service groups who worked together to bring Blessing Houses to Rosiclare and Cave In Rock.
Wayne Lane is the founder of Community Hope, a group of community members who help when there is a need within Hardin County. Many of the group members originated from Bethany General Baptist Church, but others in the community are now supporting the efforts of Community Hope too. Lane said over the past few years through Community Hope members have likely shared $50,000 worth of resources and donated items provided from locals of the community to people who have a need, whether it’s furniture, clothing, or food. In addition to sharing resources, members of Community Hope serve the local area with outreach missions to help elderly, widows, or single mothers with repairs or chores that they were unable to complete on their own.
The latest mission of Community Hope has been to secure the Blessing Houses. These are wooden-built shelters with shelves stocked full of non-perishable foods and some sanitary supplies. People who need food are welcome to take food at any time day or night. It is a self-serve system and Lane emphasized that ANYONE can take the food. Those who don’t need food but want to give to the mission are welcome to leave food in the Blessing Houses at any time.
Lane learned that the Fowler Bonan Foundation’s community mission Heaven’s Kitchen of Harrisburg had partnered with the Southern Illinois Worship Center to place these Blessing Houses in different towns in Southern Illinois. Lane contacted Rhonda Belford, the Hardin County Republican Central Committee Chairman, who then reached out to Senator Dale Fowler to see if Blessing Houses could be placed in Hardin County. Fowler was able to secure two, one for Rosiclare and one for Cave In Rock.
“I grew up poor,” said Lane. “I was one of seven kids and we always had extra family at our house. I watched my mom go to bed without dinner so many nights. Those are the experiences that got me started with Community Hope.” Lane said when he sees people in the community down he wants to help out.
Members of the congregation of the Southern Illinois Worship Center in Energy, Illinois built the houses as one of their missions to serve Southern Illinois communities. To date they have built eleven houses – five that were delivered to locations near Energy and the other six Heaven’s Kitchen delivered to Carrier Mills, Raleigh, Equality, Rosiclare, Cave In Rock, and next on the list, McLeansboro. Volunteers with SIWC plan to build more houses after the new year. Lane hopes to get one to put in Elizabethtown near the Hardin County Independent.
Workers Randy Bynum and Scott Quinn of Heaven’s Kitchen delivered the Blessing Houses to Hardin County and stocked the shelves with a huge amount of food last Friday. Senator Fowler, along with members of his staff and volunteers for Heaven’s Kitchen, Dana Hoover and Amy Oxford, also helped stock the shelves that day.
The Blessing Houses are located in front of the Emergency Management (EMA) building next to the Library on Main Street in Rosiclare and inside the Cave In Rock Village Hall building on Canal Street.
EMA Director Mitchell Conkle and EMA Secretary Nadine Clark are working with Community Hope to get a solar powered heat source installed in the Blessing House in front of the EMA building.
Through Community Hope, Lane is offering frozen meat to people who need it. He is accepting donations of meat and fresh harvests of deer. Several processors have offered to prepare and package donated deer meat into burger to help support the efforts of Community Hope.
If anyone wants to donate food, supplies, hygiene items, baby formula, diapers, or other items to the Blessing Houses, Lane said individuals can stock the shelves at any time on their own. Lane encourages and asks that people buy these food items and supplies locally to help support those businesses that continually provide donations to the community as well. The first filling of the box was courtesy of Heaven’s Kitchen but from now on, Community Hope and local donors will be keeping the houses stocked.
If the Blessing House is too full for more donations, give Lane a call and he can store the items until space comes available. Donors may also call the EMA staff at (618) 285-3621 or (708) 533-2287 to drop off large amounts of donations.
For more information, to obtain meat, or if someone has a need that Community Hope might be able to address, call Wayne Lane at (618) 294-4846.
About SIWC – Southern Illinois Worship Center is a non-denominational church that desires to reach, teach, and equip people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ while serving the community.
About Heaven’s Kitchen – The Fowler Bonan Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, incorporated in the state of Illinois, whose primary mission is to provide clothing and shoes to low income children through the Clothes for SI Kids initiative and to provide hot meals to those in need through the Heaven’s Kitchen program. Each year the foundation partners with sponsors and local organizations for the “Together we Can Drive” to collect over 50,000 canned goods to help stock Blessing Houses, food pantries and senior citizen centers throughout Southern Illinois. Visit FowlerBonanFoundation.com for more information or find Heaven’s Kitchen – Harrisburg on facebook.
Blessing House delivered to Rosiclare, in front of the EMA building on Main Street. Pictured, left to right: Rosiclare City Commissioner Bob Winchester, Rosiclare City Commissioner Mary Vaughn, Rosiclare Mayor Roy Tolbert, Community Hope Founder Wayne Lane, Senator Dale Fowler, Heaven’s Kitchen Volunteers and Senate Staffers, Dana Hoover and Amy Oxford, and Hardin County EMA Secretary Nadine Clark.
Blessing House delivered to Cave In Rock in the Village Hall building on Canal Street. Pictured, left to right: Volunteer Bill Kagel, Cave In Rock Village Trustee Sandra Dixon, Cave In Rock Village Clerk Linda Mott, Cave In Rock Village President Marty Kaylor, Hardin County Commissioner Mike Belford, Hardin County Republican Central Committee Chairman Rhonda Belford, Senator Dale Fowler, and Community Hope Founder Wayne Lane. — Jennifer Lane photos.
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