Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” – Luke 3:11 (NIV)

A ministry of Renew Community Church, Luke 3:11 Share Center was intentionally designed to be a share center– a place where people could come to serve and be served, where sharing and receiving takes place simultaneously, where a person could both show and experience care, a place where relationships could be cultivated through sharing resources.

 

The Ministry Model

After hearing discouraging accounts from individuals who have used other pantries in the area, we developed three values to guide the ministry and bring dignity to what can often be a degrading situation:

  • Respecting the Individual This first starts by using the term “guest” instead of “client.” Our guests have “guest choice,” which means they choose food items that will meet the needs of their family instead of receiving a pre-filled box of items they may not use. While our guests wait to enter the food area, we have volunteers designated to listen to and pray with our guests, if the guest should like support in that way.
  • Sharing within the Community We are a collection of neighbors working together to meet each other’s needs; we encourage our guests to participate in the sharing concept through donations and/or volunteering. We intentionally have very basic volunteer requirements so as to encourage families to volunteer together.
  • Organization and Efficiency We value both our volunteers’ and our guests’ time and, as such, the organization of resources and the procedures used to distribute those resources are important to us. Unlike most food pantries, we schedule an appointment time that fits in our guest’s schedule which eliminates the need to wait in a long line, often without the guarantee of food, and allows us to anticipate volunteer and resource needs for that day.

 

Luke 3:11 Share Center Calling and History

2011:   A food crisis in Lake Villa is recognized by Michele Holmes and the idea for a food pantry-based ministry to meet the need is presented to Renew Community Church. The church endorses the share center concept for a food pantry-based ministry. Holmes develops a team with three other women and together they create a basis for operations.

2012:  Membership with Northern Illinois Food Bank approved and our first guests welcomed. The key values of the ministry are developed.

2013:  A church affiliate is added and services are expanded from 2 days of distribution a month to 6 days.

2014:  A second church affiliate is added and services are expanded from 6 days to 8 days a month.

2015:  Work begins to become recognized federally as a 501(c)3. Key relationships are established with the local schools which generate new volunteers and guests. A community farm is cultivated.

2016:  501(c)3 status officially obtained. Grant for capacity building of the community garden obtained.

2017:  Box Truck purchased for food donation pick-ups. Distribution days and food donation pickups increased to 16 times a month and over 30 times a month, respectively.