Frequently Asked Questions

 

ELIGIBILITY

1) Who is eligible to come to the Food Pantry?

Any resident of Jo Daviess County whose gross income (including the gross income of all household members) does not exceed the following, based on household size:  

For each additional household member add $644  

2) Where and when do I register for the Food Pantry?

Registration for the Food Pantry takes place on normal Distribution Days during normal operating hours. 

3) What do I need to bring with me to register for the Food Pantry?

You will need to bring proof of Jo Daviess County residency such as a driver’s license or state identification card or any utility bill addressed to you at your current Jo Daviess County  street address (not post office box).

4) Will I have to show proof that my income is within the allowable limit?

You will be asked to sign and attest that your income is within the guidelines.  You will be reminded that falsification of this information or misappropriation of food is a criminal offense that may be punishable by fine or imprisonment.

FOOD PANTRY DISTRIBUTION DAYS

5) When are the normal Food Pantry Distribution Days when I can come to get food?

The normal Food Pantry Distribution Days are the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.

6) Are there any exceptions to these normal Food Pantry Distribution Days?

During Thanksgiving week, because the normal Food Pantry Distribution Day falls on Thanksgiving, distribution is on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.   Also, Christmas may affect the second Distribution Day in December.  The only other changes occur when the bank is closed for a holiday.  (See the current year’s schedule).

7) What are the hours of operation of the Food Pantry?

The hours of operation of the Food Pantry are from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.  No orders are accepted after 4:30 p.m.  You cannot enter the Food Pantry before 12:30 p.m. unless directed by the staff. 

8) What if I don’t have a car?

You can contact Jo Daviess Transportation for a ride. Phone # 815.777.8088 http://jodaviess.org/transportation

 9) How often can I come to the Food Pantry?

Each household can come to the Food Pantry once per calendar month.

10) When is the best time to come to the Food Pantry?

It is best to come to the Food Pantry between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.  This is the period when the Food Pantry is less busy and the wait is the shortest.

11) Do we need to come early to receive more food or to have the biggest variety from which to choose?

No.  The Food Pantry stocks enough food for all the clients we expect.  Shelves are stocked with new and sometimes different food throughout the day.

12) Does it help to arrive well before opening time to be served faster?

No.   All clients who are at the Food Pantry when it opens are served in order determined by lottery.  Clients arriving later are served in the order in which they arrive – frequently after only a short wait. Clients using Jo Daviess County Transport are given first access to the Food Pantry. http://jodaviess.org/transportation

 EMERGENCY FOOD

13) If I have a family emergency, can I receive food between normal food pantry days?

Yes. Call 815-777-1456 and explain that you are in need of emergency food assistance. The person answering the phone will guide you through the process to receive emergency food assistance.

FOOD PANTRY LOCATION

14) Where is the Food Pantry located?

The Food Pantry is located in the lower level of the Illinois Bank and Trust at 971 Gear St. in Galena, IL.

15) Where do I park?

There are limited parking spaces available in the bank parking lot – but spaces in front of the bank are reserved for bank customers only. Food Pantry personnel will direct you.   If the lot is full, you can park on the street.  When you leave the Food Pantry after receiving your food, a volunteer will wait with your food while you drive down to the bank parking lot.

16) How do I enter the Food Pantry

The Food Pantry entrance is behind the Illinois Bank and Trust on the lower level.  Clients should not enter through the main entrance to the bank.

ON ARRIVING AT THE FOOD PANTRY

17) What can I expect when I arrive at the Food Pantry?

The Food Pantry is a ministry of the United Churches of Galena.  Everyone coming to the Food Pantry can expect to be treated with respect, treated fairly and served without discrimination.

18) Order of Service 

Upon arriving, you will receive a number designating the order in which you are served.  

19) Registering 

If you have not registered previously or within the last 18 months, you will be asked to register.  A volunteer will take your information and help you to determine if you qualify.  The volunteer will ask for proof of residency in the state of Illinois and will ask you to attest by signing that your income is within the guideline, that you will hold the United Churches Food Pantry harmless of any liability arising out of the food and that you understand that the food must be used within your household and not sold or given away.

Registration Form  

Sign-in Registered clients will sign the EMERGENCY FOOD PROGRAM SIGNATURE SHEET indicating name, address, city and state, and whether you currently receive Food Stamps.  (Receiving Food Stamps does not disqualify you from receiving food from the Food Pantry.  Clients are encouraged to access Food Stamps if they qualify.  A volunteer can help by providing Food Stamp information.)  By signing the Signature Sheet you verify that your registration information is still correct.

20) Food Order  

You will receive a Food Order form from which you can select a variety of items based on your family size.  Your family size is based on the number of full-time residents in your household.  All resident family members must be listed on your registration form.  The Food Order will be filled by a volunteer and will be waiting for you in the bagging area.

21) “Shopping” at the Food Pantry 

In addition to the Food Order, you will be able to “shop” with a volunteer and to select food from the Pantry shelves.  The amount you can select will be determined based on your household size.

22) Bagging Your Food 

Volunteers will assist in bagging your food and in taking the food to your car.  If you choose to take the food to your car yourself, we ask that you return the cart to Food Pantry for use by another client.

23) What if I cannot come to the Food Pantry to get my food?

If you are a registered client, the Food Pantry does not have the capability to deliver food, but you can designate someone as your “proxy” to get food for you.  

There is a very specific process that must be followed:

  • Obtain a proxy form:
    • from the Food Pantry during normal hours
    • from any United Churches member church
    • Proxy Form
  • Complete the proxy form, designate your proxy and sign it.  (The proxy will sign the form at the Food Pantry)

If you are not a registered client, you will need to visit the Food Pantry to register or, if you are unable, call 815 777-1456 for more information.

[QUESTIONS and COMPLAINTS  

24) What do I do if I have a question at the Food Pantry?

Please ask.  Our volunteers want to help.  If something is confusing or does not seem right or if you have a suggestion, please bring it to the attention of a volunteer.


25) What do I do if I feel I have been treated unfairly or have been discriminated against?

After bringing your concern to a volunteer and asking to see a supervisor, if you still feel that you have been treated unfairly or have been discriminated against, you may call the number of the Federal Agency posted at the Food Pantry. 

BACKGROUND ABOUT THE FOOD PANTRY

26) Am I “entitled” to food from the Food Pantry?

No.  The United Churches of Galena Food Pantry operates as an outreach from the United Churches to help serve the hungry in our area.  The Food Pantry is not a government agency from which clients are entitled to food.

We aim to serve those in need with respect and dignity.  We are required to utilize federal poverty guidelines and other procedures because we receive some food through government programs.

27) How does the Food Pantry get its food?

The Food Pantry is supported by local donations and grants.  Cash donations are used to purchase food.  In addition, we receive some food items through the federal emergency food distribution program.

28) Are the workers at the Food Pantry employees?

No.  There are no paid employees at the Food Pantry.  All of the workers are volunteers.

29) Does the Food Pantry pay rent at the Illinois Bank and Trust?

No.  The use of the Food Pantry space and the utilities to operate the Food Pantry are donated by the Illinois Bank & Trust.  This is a particular reason why we need to park cars and use the premise in ways that do not interfere with the bank’s business operation.  By not paying rent or utilities, we are able to put more of our resources into providing food.

TRANSIENT ASSISTANCE

30) If I am travelling through Galena and have an emergency need for shelter, food or gasoline, is anything available through the Food Pantry?

A traveler passing through Galena who has an emergency need for lodging, a meal or gasoline may request a one-time Transient Assistance Voucher at any Galena church, the Galena Police Department or the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department.

31) If I am a resident of the area, am I eligible for the Transient Assistance Voucher program?

No.  The program is intended for those traveling through the area, not residents.

DONATIONS

32) What is the best way to contribute to the Food Pantry – cash or food?

Donations of cash or food are welcome.  Cash donations give us some flexibility to purchase items we need and to take advantage of special purchasing opportunities.

33) How do I make a cash donation to the Food Pantry?  

You can mail a cash donation to:

United Churches of Galena Food Pantry

971 Gear St.

P. O. Box 317

Galena, IL 61036

Or you can specifically designate a donation to the Food Pantry through the regular collection at any United Churches of Galena member church. 

34) How can I make a donation of food items?

Unopened, commercially packaged food that is within its expiration date is accepted at the Food Pantry during normal hours on Distribution Days or through any Galena church.  

Please – Do not bring any food to the Illinios Bank and Trust when the Food Pantry is not open.

35) Are my donations tax deductible?

The United Churches of Galena is a registered 501 (c) (3) public charity.  Contributions are deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.

36) Will I receive an acknowledgement of my contribution?

Yes.  Please provide your mailing address.  If an email acknowledgement is acceptable, please give us your email address.

37) Will the Food Pantry accept donations of items other than food such as clothing or furniture?

No.  The Food Pantry is only able to distribute food items.  You may contact the following organizations  regarding clothes donations and furniture donations. The Workshop Resale Store (815 777-2211), Goodwill (563-557-3158) or the Dubuque Rescue Mission (563-583-1394).

MORE QUESTIONS?

38) What if I have more questions?

You can come to the Food Pantry during normal hours on Distribution Days or you can call 815 777-1456.