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TAYLORVILLE — Taylorville has experienced its fair share of helping hands bringing positive change to the community in recent memory. The most recent example being St. Mary’s third grader, Barrett Dennison. He, along with help from his dad BJ and mom Brenan, has introduced a micro-pantry to the town to aid whoever needs food, male and female hygiene products as well as other multi-purpose items.
“We were talking about the school collecting food for the local food pantry.” Says Brenan Dennison. “Barrett just said right away ‘What if people can’t get to the food pantry?’”
The concept of project became clear. Open another food pantry location within the city that will be easily accessible and open for everyone.
“We just decided that would something we would like to do for Taylorville.” Said Dennison. “We always laugh about how hungry kids are when they get out of school and kids having a snack after school. He just said: ‘I want kids to be able to have a snack after school even if their mommy and daddy can’t afford it.’ and so we did just that.”
While mom did her research on the many micro-pantries scattered around Illinois the boys, BJ and Barrett, worked on building the pantry itself. They spent this past winter constructing a place to keep the donations and finally in May 20, 2023 the pantry opened up to the public. The pantry is located in front of the St. Mary’s basketball gym doors on the corner of E Adams and S Main.
The pantry has already seen a high amount of traffic being depleted to just about empty twice since opening.
“We hope everybody can use it.” Brenan exclaims. “We hope the everybody helps keep it stocked.”
A common question asked is: “What should I put in the pantry?” and the answer is: “Whatever you would like.”
From essentials like canned goods, deodorant and toothbrushes to the more “fun” items like sugary cereals and gummy candy. There’s nothing that won’t be used.
“It’s fun to get your kids involved, get your family involved and have them pick out things that they like.” Explains Dennison. “It’s important to pay it forward and make sure we’re all doing what we need to for our community also.”
This is the first micro-pantry of it’s kind to be set up in Christian County but Brenan, BJ and Barrett hopes to bring more in the coming weeks, months and years.
“Being told this was the first one in Christian County I was a little shocked,” Dennison says. “but excited too so we can hopefully pass it on and maybe someone in Pana will want to do one just because this is something that being used and is highly sought after.”