by Jim Killam | 3-minute read
First Free Rockford is partnering with the Salvation Army and Rockford Sharefest through the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center to get needed supplies to agencies serving the homeless, needy, and those affected by COVID-19 throughout Winnebago County.
A warehouse inside the former Circuit City store has been set up by the Winnebago County Emergency Operations Center. It’s staffed by Salvation Army members and Rockford Sharefest volunteers. First Free has already made a $4,000 donation to help with warehouse set-up. We’re also offering the use of our church vans to pick up pre-scheduled donated supplies that are delivered to the warehouse.
“As a church we desire to go, tell, and show the love of Jesus any way we can,” said Josh Pardee, Pastor of Congregational Life. “We are all changed because of the love that we have received from Jesus and we want to extend that to anyone we can. When this opportunity presented itself for us to partner with the city, it felt like a no-brainer. We love our community and want to support in any way possible.”
The center currently has enough volunteers and staff. The best way to help is by donating materials or money. Because our church office is closed, you can take items directly to the donation center at 5460 E. State St., between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. A masked and gloved volunteer will greet you outside the center and you won’t even have to leave your vehicle.
Chuck Meyers is helping to support operational needs for the donation center. He is a fire captain with the Win-Bur-Sew Fire Protection District, headquartered in Winnebago, but is also giving extra time for the Emergency Operations Center. Chuck and his wife, Heather, attend First Free.
“The site is there to support the needs of local agencies and organizations that can sometimes become exhausted from normal supply needs while serving the community,” Chuck said. “Right now, the focus is protective equipment for first responders and healthcare workers as well as baby and hygiene products that the shelters with be needing for our homeless community members. The warehouse can help by providing the capacity to receive larger amounts of products that those in need may not have the capacity to handle.”
That said, he added that no amount of needed materials is too small, either.
“If people have product and they want to drive up and drop it off and it meets the donations list, do it,” he said. “There’s never too little. Maybe you have a hundred people bring in a small box each and suddenly there’s a pallet.”
The Winnebago County Health Department’s website includes the center’s list of needed products.