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Two doors down ...

PRINCETON — The Tri-County Opportunities Council is moving its food pantry and other programs two doors north to 1019 N. Main St. in Princeton.

On Monday, Vanessa Hoffeditz, community services coordinator for the Tri-County Opportunities Council, said the move will take place as of May 1. The move will give the agency much needed additional space, she said, adding the building which currently houses the agency has been put on the market for sale or lease.

The Tri-County Opportunities Council has rented its current building, located at 1005 N. Main St., for the past 10 years. Not only does the building house the Bureau County Food Pantry, but the agency also operates its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program and its Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program from that site.

The new agency site, which formerly housed the Peruvian chicken restaurant, will provide more usable space for the collection and distribution of food and other supplies through the food pantry, as well as allow for more efficient use and more confidentiality of clients for all three programs, Hoffeditz said. The agency will only use the main floor of the building.

Hoffeditz commended the new landowners, Josh and Courtney Mabry, for working with the agency to make the move possible. The Mabrys are making sure the building will meet health department requirements, have lowered the rent for the agency, and will even help with the moving of the food pantry into the new location. The agency could not have made the move without the partnership of the Mabrys, she said.

Though the LIHEAP and CSBG programs will continue to operate at the current site throughout the month, the food pantry itself will be closed April 26, 27 and 30 so the food and supplies items, shelving and appliances can be moved to the new location. The Mabrys are helping organize the volunteers for the move, but volunteers may also contact the agency at 815-875-6064, she said.

Even though the shelves will need to be cleared for the move, food donations are still needed at the food pantry to meet the needs of all the individuals and families who use the food pantry each month. Personal items, like shampoos, soaps and paper products, are also needed.

Typically, people remember to give to their local food pantries during the holiday seasons, but the need is there throughout the year, Hoffeditz said, adding the continued generosity of area people to give to the food pantry is much appreciated.

Though the number of people using the Bureau County Food Pantry were a bit fewer in February, the numbers were back up for March, showing 284 individuals, representing 114 households, using the local food pantry.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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