Tag Archives: Food Pantry

Willow Creek Community Church Opens New Care Center

On Monday, June 3, Willow Creek Community Church opened the doors of a new 60,000 sq. ft. Care Center that houses a self-choice food pantry, six car bays for automotive repairs, a dental and health clinic, legal assistance, a children’s clothing store, the Kid Zone play area for guests’ children, classrooms, meeting rooms, and more.

In 2012, the Care Center served 17,000 unique families with help from 2,000 volunteers committed to bringing dignity to meeting needs.

“We feel God has called our church to bring deep levels of compassion and care, hope and dignity to those in need,” says Heather Larson, Willow Creek’s director of Compassion & Justice. “The Care Center brings us one step closer to more fully living out Willow’s vision for being an Acts 2 church.” Acts 2:45 represents the Scripture verse that provides a foundation for the Care Center’s vision.

More than three years ago, the people of Willow Creek began contributing resources to build an expanded, on-campus care center to meet the deep and diverse needs of our community. Funds were raised the cover the cost of building the facility before ground was broken in June of 2012.

“We built the new Care Center so people can find not only immediate relief for their situation, but also a fresh start through relationships, restoration, and long-term solutions,” says Josie Guth, director of the Care Center. “We want them to experience hope, joy, and life through a relationship with Jesus.”

The Care Center’s existing spaces in Hoffman Estates (Food Pantry) and Elgin (C.A.R.S. Ministry) were closed and relocated to the church’s South Barrington campus at 67 E. Algonquin Rd., South Barrington, IL 60010.

The new Care Center is open as follows:

Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m.

Friday: CLOSED

Saturday: 9 a.m. – 12 noon

Sunday: 1:30 – 5:30 p.m.





Groundbreaking for Willow Creek’s Care Center Relocation

The weekend of June 9/10 marked the groundbreaking for construction of Willow’s new Care Center, a place of hope for  local neighbors in need. Relocating from the existing Care Center site in Hoffman Estates and the C.A.R.S. Ministry site in South Elgin, the Care Center will be a centralized facility on Willow’s South Barrington campus that provides immediate relief in times of crisis, and guides people toward long-term solutions. From groceries, clothing, and transportation to education, employment services, and legal consultation, the Care Center takes a holistic approach to serving people in need. Each guest is treated with dignity and experiences the love of God through the hands of caring staff and volunteers.

Willow’s current Care Center is the largest food pantry in Chicagoland, distributing more than four million pounds of food in 2011. But the number of guests seeking short-term and long-term solutions to local poverty has risen 80% in recent years—and the new Care Center will be able to greatly increase the number of families served, and the ways in which they are served.

“Our church caught the vision for what God could do through this Center, and they joined together to fund the new Care Center in its entirety,” says Compassion & Justice Director Heather Larson. With finances already in the bank, construction is set to be completed in phases, with hope that the doors can open in Spring 2013.

“We want everyone to be part of this significant weekend,” says Care Center Director Josie Guth of a memorable event after each service, It was a chance for the congregation to stand in solidarity with those who come to the Care Center for support. People have contributed resources to the relocation and expansion of the facility and on June 9/10, they gathered together to see the physical progress, and be part of a group photo.

These photos will be enlarged and displayed in the new Care Center, to represent the  nature of God’s work through the Willow Creek congregation. “The photos will be a fitting representation of how our congregation has united so wholeheartedly around making the new Care Center happen,” says Josie.

Willow Creek Care Center Serves Record Numbers

In the past year, the Willow Creek Care Center has seen an increase of 89% in the number of guests served, distributing 1.5 million pounds of food worth more than $5 million.


Josie Guth, director of the Food Pantry and Care Center, says that November was another record breaker with 5,000 guests served. “In addition to serving our guests, we gave away 2,000 turkeys with trimmings. Guests also participated in a fall party, complete with donuts, music, and face painting.”

Looking ahead to another busy time at the Care Center, coats for kids, collected through “Just Christmas” Compassion and Justice initiative, will be distributed to guests. Those with a voucher will "shop" for coats for their children at a family party at the South Barrington campus.


Other services provided at the Care Center include ESL classes, legal and employment services, and an expanded food stamp program. The Care Center is located a few miles from the South Barrington campus at 2080 Stonington Avenue in Hoffman Estates.