Project Love Food Pantry

Volunteer Fran Laudig assists a client in December 2016 at the Project Love Food Pantry in Cedar Lake. The church hopes to break ground on a big new building in spring.

John J. Watkins, The Times

CEDAR LAKE — Fundraising efforts for a new building for Project Love Food Pantry continue to perk along, but the campaign is still $35,000 to $40,000 short of its $180,000 goal.

The pantry, overseen by the Cedar Lake United Methodist Church in town, has started a Go Fund Me page that so far has raised $2,925 in pledges. The church is continuing its sale of memorial patio bricks, at $25 apiece, as a fundraising tool.

With a good chunk of donations already in its coffers, the pantry will break ground on a new structure in the spring and get the preliminary stages of construction out of the way, such as getting the structure up and the floor in.

“It’s been a big help,” said Pastor Ken Puent, of the brick campaign. Sponsors of the building project also include Illiana Heating and Air Conditioning, Phillippe Builders and Plum Valley Landscaping.

The pantry’s plan involves demolishing the structure at its longtime address, 7214 W. 137th Place, and building a new structure on the same site. Since 2016, the pantry has been operating out of a temporary building at 13135 Morse St.

The new building also will include an opportunity center, in which pantry officials will team with the Purdue University Extension to offer healthy-cooking classes.

Puent said that during December the pantry has been focusing on getting donations for the holidays. “We’ve gotten a lot of food donations,” he said.

After the first of the year it’ll get back on track with a push to finish raising the money. The town of Cedar Lake, along with the pantry’s major sponsors, have helped with planning.

“Tim Kubiak (the town’s director of operations) has been a great help in (telling us) what’ll work and what won’t work,” Puent said.

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