SATURDAY FOOD PANTRY
The Church of Peace Saturday Food Pantry is open from 9-11 every Saturday. We serve approximately 32 families a month that amounts to around 96 individuals. The Church of Peace works with nine local churches and several local organizations to provide a food pantry that is available outside of usual pantry hours.
Each family receives a 3 to 4 day supply of food that includes items for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Our staff and volunteers package the food bundles with focus on items from each of the food groups. Toilet tissue, bath soap, shampoo, dish detergent, and laundry soap are also available when they are in stock. Moms can also request a package of disposable baby diapers to help them get through until their next payday. The Church of Peace depends on donations from our partners, community members, and organizations to help keep the pantry stocked and open.
PeacePals is a program that provides literacy lessons and tutoring to primary children in the neighborhood around Church of Peace. Students are identified by classroom teachers with help from parents. Children that are attending classes at RI Academy walk to the church with two volunteers. We meet on Wednesdays, when the school has early dismissal at 2:10. The students begin our lesson times with a nutritious snack and move on to reading leveled books in their own baskets. (Reading levels are provided to Church of Peace by their classroom teachers, with their parents’ permission.) After the children have read with a volunteer for 40 or more minutes, they get together in a group to listen to a story and discuss various aspects of the story. After this, the children participate in word work or comprehension activities based on that story. Children are dismissed from PeacePals at 4:00. All members and friends of the church are welcome to volunteer. Our volunteers enjoy giving this two hours to this important endeavor–all have found their time with PeacePals to be rewarding and personally uplifting.
The Church of Peace volunteers sell new children’s books two times a month for only 1 dollar each at the nearby elementary Academy school. While the books are worth much more, this price allows children to buy books of their own to have at home. Some kids not only improve their own reading ability, but also teach their younger brothers and sisters to read. The usual sales times are from 11-12 noon on the first and third Fridays of each month when school is in session.
LIGHTS ON FOR LEARNING
English As a Second Language (ESL) classes are offered to neighborhood residents on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from September through May at the Church of Peace. These classes are held from 9 am-2 pm, and childcare is offered to parents who have children that are not attending school. These classes are offered through a grant from the State of Illinois, and in a partnership with Black Hawk College who provides the teachers, and Rock Island Schools who provides the administration.
The childcare for the students’ children is DCFS exempt. Childcare providers are employed through Church of Peace, and snacks are offered to the children during the morning hours.
DIAPERS FOR BABY JESUS
Our church collects hundreds of diapers at Christmas time for our neighbors. These are packaged into smaller quantities and given out throughout the year to mothers who need assistance.
COMMUNITY CARING CONFERENCE
In the 1970s, the Church of Peace was faced with the decision of whether to stay in the changing neighborhood or relocate outside of the city. After studying the situation, the church made the decision to stay in this location and in 1976 launched the organization called the Community Caring Conference. The CCC has tackled such projects as crime prevention programs, neighborhood clean-up, street lighting, public education, GED preparation, neighborhood block clubs, Child IDs, National Night Out, and a voice in policy making at City Hall. For more information and how you can get involved, visit their website at www.ricaring.org.
Neighbors call on the church and ask for food vouchers, bus vouchers, and monetary assistance for rent, utility or deposit or any number of financial needs. We help them through different community resources, Churches United, and the parish nurse have also been involved to help find resources in the medical area.