And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. ….
For nearly 30 years COOL Food Pantry East and Central Offices occupied several small store front spaces on Water Street in downtown Waukegan. Over the years COOL grew and visitors to the food pantries steadily increased. These days more than 6000 individuals receive food each month at the COOL Food Pantries and the Family/Transitional Housing Program now consists of 12 housing units.
The small space on Water Street simply could no longer meet our needs. In fact, there were many times when food had to be turned away as there was simply no place to store it. Perhaps the biggest problem was that none of the doorways in the old building were large enough to allow us to move food inside by pallet. Instead, every crate and box of groceries had to be unloaded on the streets and moved by hand and cart indoors regardless of the weather. Considering that Pantry East distributes about one and a half million pound of food each year that meant a lot of heavy lifting.
In the spring of 2015 our friends at the Henderson Foundation purchased and began renovating a new building for COOL. However, we quickly ran into trouble and feared we may never be issued a business license and occupancy permit for the new space. However, we prayed and asked our supporters to do the same remaining faithful that with God there would surely be a way. We finally received our business license and occupancy permit in February and Pantry East reopened for business at 800 W. Glen Flora Avenue just north of the downtown area on February 16th, 2016.
The new building includes a double garage door and plenty of storage space so trucks can unload food deliveries inside! As part of the move we also made the decision to start a capital campaign for purchasing a much needed new walk in freezer and refrigerator and a moving fund to help offset the other costs associated relocating.
The walk in unit replaces nearly a dozen smaller units that were not meant for commercial use. Now we will never have to turn away food donations and as a result we can buy food in bulk when prices are low saving precious dollars. As a result, COOL can now provide more food assistance to our hungry neighbors in need in a much more efficient space with plenty of room for both visitors and food storage.
On February 12th, the staff at COOL along with the directors on our Board, Mayor Motley, Senator Terry Link and many of our supporters gathered at the new building for a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by an open house. This was a wonderful evening which gave us the opportunity to thank the Henderson Foundation and other donors and volunteers who helped make this move possible including John Iskalis of Iskalis American Floor Show in Gurnee who donated and installed new flooring for the entire building.
We were truly overwhelmed by the many friends who came out to celebrate our move. Our new building is everything we had dreamed of for many years and will enable COOL to greatly improve our services and help more people than ever before. On behalf of all of us at COOL Thank You for your help and support and if you missed the open house please drop by and visit as we are very proud of our new space and we would be happy to give you a tour.
If you would like to contribute to the capital campaign just mark you donation envelope “COOL Walk In Fund” or “COOL Moving Fund” with checks payable to COOL Ministries. Online donations via paypal are accepted at www.coolministries.org.
Thank you all for your ongoing prayers and support!