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EIU Civic Engagement and Volunteerism

Food Insecurity/Poverty

Nutrition (aside from water) is one of the most important needs a person has. There are many people in the United States and beyond who do not get adequate food. You can help with this problem by volunteering with some of the agencies below. By giving your time, you are helping someone receive a warm meal.

For more information about these organizations, please contact our office at 217-581-3967 or email

Charleston Food Pantry

The Charleston Area Churches Food Pantry provides emergency and supplemental food to local people and families in need of assistance. The food pantry is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1:30pm to 4:00pm and Thursdays from 5:30 - 7 p.m. The Food Pantry is located at 990 W. State St., Charleston, IL 61920.

Volunteers are needed to sort food, pack bags, and carry bags for clients. Volunteers are needed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:30 - 4 p.m.

Contact Person: Todd, Director
Telephone: 217-348-3030

Mattoon Area PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter)

PADS provides shelter, hot meals, and guidance through various agencies of Coles County. 2017 Broadway Ave., Mattoon, IL.

Volunteers are needed to help with meals and staying overnight.

Contact Person: Michael Stopka
Telephone: 217-234-7237

Mattoon Community Food Center

Furnishes emergency and supplemental food at no cost to qualifying low-income families who need assistance in Mattoon, Lerna, and Humboldt. 600 Moultrie, PO Box 126, Mattoon, IL.

Volunteers are needed to pre-pack food, sort food, and take applications. Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:30-3:30 p.m., and occasionally weekends. Must sign up for specific days.

Contact Person: Janet Clark, Director OR Jerry Parker, Warehouse Manager
Telephone: 217-258-8321 (Food Center)

Soup Stop

The Soup Stop is a local organization that is funded entirely on donations and through volunteer efforts. Soup Stop serves lunch at the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Charleston weekdays from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Soup Stop serve a hot meal to anyone who is hungry.

Volunteers are needed to serve meals Monday through Friday. This program may be steady or minimal in time commitment.

Contact Person: Mary-Nance Miller
Telephone: 217-348-1677

First Fruits Homestead

First Fruits Homestead will give you an opportunity to work outdoors at a farm and garden. This is a brand new service opportunity that is a unique opportunity for students. The mission set before us is to provide our community with safe and nutritious fruits, vegetables and meat while striving to bring people closer to Christ while working the land He has provided. Produce with Purpose is our ministry share program. This ministry will provide a portion of our CSA shares, free-of-charge to local families and individuals experiencing food insecurity as well as showing them the love of Christ.

First Fruits is a new agency, so there are many opportunities for volunteers including assisting with planting and harvesting the garden to helping with the livestock (cows, chickens), etc.

Contact Person: Jerry
Telephone: 217-273-6499


Fit-2-Serve is local non-profit organization that is a catalyst for a stronger collaborative community through strengths, service, and relationships.  We are specifically passionate about strengthening relational restoration through intergenerational learning, community gardening, and farm to table culinary classes!

With our community gardening, we celebrate that it is 90% community development and 10% gardening.  Fit-2-Serve maintains several community gardens in Mattoon.  We are recruiting volunteers for “a day in the garden” to assist us in all things gardening to include harvesting the produce this fall.  At any given time, volunteer gardeners from elementary schools, scouts, daycares, and local adult service organizations are tending and harvesting produce that is in turn supplied to a) taste testing for area children through Project Lifespan (our intergenerational program) and Farm-2-Table culinary classes, b) Mark's My Store – a local independent grocery store, and c) Bidwell's restaurant, a local independent bistro.

Volunteers can “drop – in” or schedule a “day at the garden” as a student group or class. Fit-2-Serve is also open to having college students serve as interns to support our mission to equip people for works of service.

Contact Person: Bill Duey
Telephone: 708-829-7324

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Civic Engagement and Volunteerism

Eastern Illinois University
MLK Jr. Union 3rd Floor
Charleston, IL 61920

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