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Anonymous donor gives Central Illinois Foodbank $500K gift

January 2, 2021 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Central Illinois Foodbank plans to use an anonymous donor’s $500,000 gift to expand its reach during a time of growing need amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it leader says.

Outside of grants, the donation is the single largest gift in the food bank’s 38-year history and the gift’s timing is “impeccable,” said Pam Molitoris, its executive director.

She said the donation will be used to address the growing need for food assistance throughout the group’s 21-county service area as the pandemic’s economic impact continues into 2021, The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reported.

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“The timing is impeccable as we think of gearing up for possibly an extended period of time of high need,” Molitoris said. “This gives us that motivation and that inspiration that we can get it done.”

The food bank distributes over 10 million pounds (4.5 million kilograms) of food annually to over 160 food pantries, soup kitchens, residential programs and after-school programs in its region.

Since March, the group has provided food at 85 drive-through distribution events in underserved urban and rural areas. The food bank has increased its distribution by nearly 2 million pounds (907,200 kilograms), a 25% increase since the same time last year.

Molitoris said the last several months have challenged many community members because of job losses and reduced work hours, leaving many families in need of food assistance for the first time.

“These funds are going to help us reach into areas that have a really high need or low resources,” she said.