West Suburban Community Pantry in Woodridge reopens in-person shopping – Shaw Local

WOODRIDGE – After the omicron variant of COVID-19 forced West Suburban Community Pantry to close in-store shopping in January for the safety of customers, volunteers and staff, the Pantry Store is expected to reopen for regular in-store shopping at from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on February 26.

Customers can choose their preferences for fresh produce, meat and fish, dry goods, dairy and baked goods, as well as supplies such as diapers and wipes, pet food and cleaning and household products. A new section featuring items for school and adult lunches will also be unveiled, according to a press release.

After several weeks of curbside distribution through harsh winter conditions, WSCP Executive Director Laura Coyle is eager to reopen the Pantry Store.

“We always prefer our neighbors to buy the store themselves if it is safe for us to do so. We believe that buying food from a pantry should be a dignified experience that comes as close as possible to buying food from a grocery store,” she said in the statement. “We will always aim for the most satisfying and safest experience we can offer.”

The pantry will adhere to local and national guidelines regarding COVID safety measures, the statement said. Masks will be required for shoppers and volunteers on Saturday. The reopening is based on the recent decrease in reported COVID cases and the number of hospitalizations in DuPage County.

“We will continue to do everything we can to maintain a safe and comfortable environment for everyone, and we look forward to welcoming our neighbors back,” Coyle said. “We will smile, even in masks.”

The pause in in-store shopping has led to a steady increase in the number of customers signing up to use the recently launched Virtual Food Pantry at www.virtualfoodpantry.net, which offers online ordering and pick-up on time and at the most convenient location for the customer. The Pantry has focused its efforts over the past two years on ways to increase access, choice and dignity in the provision of food. The newly remodeled Pantry Store also continues to expand its offering of ethnic and dietary choices.

West Suburban Community Pantry provides food and resources to those facing hunger, unlocking access to nutritious meals and building hope for tomorrow, the statement said.

Rooted in the community for 30 years, the Food Pantry offers the On-Site Food Pantry in Woodridge, the Virtual Food Pantry and a Senior Home Delivery Program to households in need in DuPage County, Bolingbrook and Romeoville. The pantry also runs child nutrition programs in local school districts and connects families to financial aid and free workshops.

For more information on pantry services and hours of operation, visit www.wscpantry.org.

Norma P. Rex