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Fowler-Bonan Foundation celebrates three years of Heaven’s Kitchen

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(WSIL) -- Food insecurity is an issue for a lot of families in southern Illinois. Tuesday, a local organization is celebrating its three-year anniversary of helping people put food on the table.

The Fowler-Bonan Foundation began 19 years ago as an initiative to help clothe children in need. Three years ago, the organization added Heaven's Kitchen to also provide food to people in southern Illinois.

News 3 spoke with the chairman and volunteers who say they've enjoyed this mission.

Every Tuesday and during holidays, Heaven's Kitchen serves hundreds of free meals to residents in southern Illinois. It's located in Harrisburg and Marion.

Chairman of the Fowler-Bonan Foundation Senator Dale Fowler says it's a great celebration to have it going for three years.

"We want people to know that, you know, if they need a meal, they can come here on Tuesday nights. You know, maybe we can do it another night as well, you know it's one step at a time. It's so rewarding," he said.

This Tuesday's meal was meatloaf with corn, mashed potatoes, bread and desserts. Normally, guests would come inside and eat. But due to the pandemic, organizers have run drive-throughs and delivered to homes with help from Rides Mass Transit.

Volunteers say they love helping give back to the community.

"It makes me feel real good and especially when I knew so many people that coming in and I call everybody by name when they drive up and it's a pleasure to do that because I know they need it," said Ray Gorman.

The group also gives out other donations like toiletries, provided by other local organizations.

Senator Fowler says it doesn't stop here. He says they're working on new ways to grow Heaven's Kitchen.

"We're actually in the process of creating some busing boxes that we're going to be putting out throughout all of southern Illinois, some Heaven's Kitchen busing boxes so we're working on that. We actually received a $5,000 donation to start that mission and so we have different community partners that want to do that," he said.

If you'd like to donate or volunteer, click here.

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Maya Skinner

Maya Skinner is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Maya joined the team in 2019 and graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2018 with a Bachelor’s in Communication with a focus in Mass Media.

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