With a mission to change hunger to hope within their community, Willow Creek Church worked with Pepper to build a 37,000-square-foot addition to the church campus where more than 2,000 volunteers serve their community with food, children’s clothing, vehicle mechanic, legal consultation, ESL classes, employment counseling, health screenings, and dental and eye care. The Care Center is set up as a welcoming, service-oriented store, where visitors are greeted and needs are addressed in a dignified manner.
During the economic downtown, the number of guest visits to the old Care Center grew by a staggering 307 percent. The amount of food gleaned from local businesses expanded by 685 percent, the number of volunteers increased by 400 percent, and a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository allowed the Care Center to maximize the food they obtained.
Today, more than 2,000 volunteers serve at Willow's Care Center on a regular basis. They represent a collaboration between young and old, church members and community members, young adults with special needs, senior groups, and corporate partners. Every volunteer brings a unique contribution to this mission.
The addition to the church is laid out less like a thrift shop or food pantry and more like an upscale mall, complete with cheery colors, welcoming seating areas and designer lighting.