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      Horizons leads new effort to feed those in need

      Sarah Stephens is the executive director of Horizons in Quincy.

      The soup kitchen has provided good, nutritious meals to people in Quincy for many years.

      Now the agency is partnering with the Midwest Food Bank to provide even more food for those in need in Quincy and the surrounding area.

      According to Stephens, the facts of hunger in this area are sobering.

      "The face of hunger in this community is changing," Stephens said. "Today we have more individuals and families who are working and they're struggling with hunger because of low wages, layoffs, unemployment and just the rising cost of food."

      For the last four months, Horizons has brought in 12,000 pounds of free food which is distributed to 11 food pantries in Quincy and the surrounding area.

      From the start Stephens says she knew that God was providing a new opportunity for the ministry to expand its outreach to the community.

      "The logistics of this process actually scared me to death. But as it began to unfold I just could see God's hand working through all of it. We decided to divide the food equally among all the partner pantries and when I said we were going to do that the Midwest Food Bank decided to pre-palletize it and wrap it. When Rinella Company found out that the Midwest Food Bank was going to do that, they said, well we'll just load it right onto their vehicles," Stephens said. "Every partner agency was able to find a vehicle that could be loaded with a full pallet of food or two pallets of food. So it was just one of those processes as it unfolded, you knew God's hand was in it. There was no other explanation for it."

      P.J. Seals with GPS Ministries in Quincy says the people it serves have really benefitted from this new opportunity.

      "It means two and a half weeks of food for people in our community," Seals said. "And we appreciate it so much. Because we serviced 246 families last month with this food."

      Sarah Stephens says the food distribution is just another opportunity for Horizons to fulfill its mission in this community.

      "The mission of Horizons is to bless this community with food and so we know that hunger reaches all four corners of this community," Stephens said. "And when we're able to help provide food relief to the poor and needy in this community, it's an incredible blessing."

      Stephens says that pantries in Macomb and Brown County are also part of the distribution.

      She is especially thankful for the Rinella Company for opening its doors making the distribution process a seamless one.