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Will County creates website for those who need food to find it

3/13/2019, 10:24 p.m.
thetimesweekly.com The Will County MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) collaborative worked with Will County’s GIS Division to ...

thetimesweekly.com

The Will County MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) collaborative worked with Will County’s GIS Division to create a website that allows those who need food to be able to find locations concerning four different “food access map” categories.

By going to https://arcg.is/1uiXCi, Will County residents can click on four different tabs that provide these food access maps. The first one (going left to right) shows all the Micro pantries within Will and Grundy Counties. These pantries; located outside various police, hospital, and service locations; follow the philosophy of “Give what you can, Take what you need.” Micro pantries are designed to allow anonymous food pick-up for those in need, and a drop-off point for those who wish to help. Micro pantries are accessible 24 hours a day.

The second tab shows the locations of 55 different food pantries in and around Will County. Food pantries are permanent locations that distribute food directly to residents at low to no cost. The map includes food distribution schedules, dates, hours of service location and eligibility requirements (if there are any) for each pantry.

The third tab includes the schedule of upcoming Mobile pantries. Mobile pantries are food distributions off of refrigerated trucks from Northern IL Food Bank. A mobile pantry includes frozen meat (a valuable source or protein), fresh produce, bread, and nutritious non-perishable items. Residents from the community sign in and walk around the truck to select food that best meets their families’ nutritional needs. Each mobile pantry distribution lasts two hours and provides nutritious food to as many as 250 families.

Will County residents in need of food are able to chose whether to pick up what they need anonymously at a micro pantry (left), or in person at an established food pantry (right), or a mobile pantry.

Will County residents in need of food are able to chose whether to pick up what they need anonymously at a micro pantry (left), or in person at an established food pantry (right), or a mobile pantry.

Finally, the fourth tab offers a unique look at the gardens that are members of the We WILL Grow School and Community Garden Program. Started in 2014, the mission of the garden program is to teach all residents of Will County the ease of growing fresh fruits and vegetables. The Garden Program’s intent was to develop gardens that would share their harvest with those in need. The goal has changed to constructing gardens in communities that are “food deserts”, in close proximity to food pantries providing fresh fruits and vegetables to pantry clients. The long term goal of the Garden Program is:

1) produce a plentiful seasonal supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved communities, 2) Show area developers that there is a demand for fruits and vegetables to support economic development in “food desert” communities.

For more about the “We Will Grow School and Community Garden Program,” go to https://www.willcountyillinois.com/County-Offices/Economic-Development/Land-Use/we-will-grow-school-and-community-garden-program.

For more on the Will County MAPP Collaborative, visit www.willcountymapp.org.