Local church joins effort to help feed needy families

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Not every resident knows where their next meal is coming from. That’s why a local church opened their doors to share boxes of free food .

Even in the blistering cold and snowy weather, church volunteers made sure this first-ever food giveaway was a success.

Emmanuel Episcopal Church and Jeremiah Development hosted their first food giveaway on Saturday.

“The Churches wanted a way to reach into the neighborhood in a non-Church way. Church is intimidating for people. They didn’t want it to be you have to be a part of the Church, they wanted, just, help,” explained Sue Kanphak. the executive director for the Jeremiah Development.

Dian Tomlinson and Sue Kanphak coordinated Saturday’s event. While helping feed families is an incredible feeling for these two–this hits close to home.

“My family was on food stamps so I understand what it means to go without. So when I heard about what we could do here in Rockford, we put our heads together and came up with this,” Tomlinson explained.

“I’ve been there. I was a teen mom. It’s hard. There are times where you just can’t make ends meat and somebody doing this for you is like heaven dropped a gift in your lap,” Kanphak added.

They were able to feed 500 families. 12-year-old volunteer Elias Rose says he traveled nearly 80 miles to come help at the giveaway.

“It’s usually so worth it to feel good about helping people in your community. It’s good to know that there’s people out there that can help,” said Rose.

Tomlinson hopes people use the event as a reminder that any contribution to those in need helps.

“We all have the ability to change the world, in a small way or a big way. It doesn’t have to be a tremendous change, I remember once hearing, ‘I can change my corner of the world,” and that’s what I’ve tried to incorporate here at Emmanuel,” she added.

To find out how you can help, click here.

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