ROCK FALLS – Rock Falls United Methodist Church is getting ready to open a pantry, but not for food.
The church, 210 Fourth Ave., is collecting personal care items in advance of opening a personal care pantry. The pantry will be open from 10 a.m. to noon the third Saturday of each month, starting Sept. 21.
The Rev. Rich Fassig said the long-discussed idea picked up momentum in the past few months, when the church looked at the perceived need and ways it could help.
"We had a little bit of a food pantry, which was a little bit of a convenience for the neighborhood," he said. "But there's a big food pantry a few blocks away, at First Christian Church. And so we weren't really fulfilling a need."
The Sterling-Rock Falls area has about 12 food pantries, Fassig said.
And at those pantries, there's a common request for personal care products, said Jodi Perez, a church member and organizer of the pantry.
There are no similar pantries in the area, Perez said, adding that some food pantries might occasionally have a few items.
Each person or family will receive a box of six items: laundry detergent, toilet paper, bath soap, toothpaste, dish soap and shampoo. They also may pick up additional items, such as shaving cream, toothbrushes, and female sanitary napkins.
The pantry will be available to anyone with a Link card. The church expects about 150 people when it opens for the first time.
"If they want to get a job, how do they clean themselves up to get a job?" Perez said.
The church sent brochures to area churches and other organizations to tell them about the new pantry. The brochures said the pantry would be open the third Saturday of the month, which is true, but didn't say it would begin this month.
The day after the brochures went out on the third Friday of August, four families showed up at the pantry, Perez said.
Pack the pantry
Rock Falls United Methodist Church will accept donations for its personal care pantry from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday at the church, 210 Fourth Ave., or by appointment.
In addition to donations of money, the church will accept the following items: shampoo, toilet paper, dish soap, laundry soap, bath soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shaving cream, deodorant and female sanitary napkins.
For more information or to donate, call 815-751-2290, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to RockFallsUMC.org.