DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) -- New Vision Church in Decatur has been serving people in Macon County for years through its food pantry, but the pandemic highlighted a misconception about its outreach program.
"In the beginning we just allowed people to walk through our building and let them grab what we had, but then we started noticing that people were not coming back," director of Community Services for New Vision Church, Richard Mogged, said.
The church then decided to make a change to its food pantry to hoping it would be more welcoming for the community.
"We decided to revamp it and make it more like a market because it removes the stigma of a food pantry," Mogged said.
The rebranded food market gives the community a place to comfortably shop for groceries.
"When COVID hit, it literally destroyed people's lives. It took away their self dignity. This allows people to come out and do their own shopping - get some more independence that they've lost and it makes them feel whole again," Mogged said.
The food market has a little bit of everything: a section for coffee lovers, canned goods, packaged meals, sweets, dairy and produce sections.
"We don't mind having to rotate stuff out and having to fill it up again. In fact, I would like to be able to fill it up as much as possible every time," Mogged said.
The church has high expectations for the food market.
"We want to reach out much farther than just the three streets here. We want to reach out to all of Macon County. We're allowed to serve all of Macon County and that's what we strive to do," Mogged said.
The food market is open every Monday and Thursday at New Vision Church from 5 to 7 p.m. The church is located on North Van Dyke Street.