GALESBURG, Ill. — Deanna Trout founded the Community Hygiene Pantry in Galesburg.
“It is just like a food pantry, only with hygiene items. Food stamps don’t pay for hygiene items, so individuals and families are left to purchase them on their own," Trout said. Her dedication to helping others earned her News 8's Pay It Forward award, sponsored by Ascentra Credit Union.
“I just noticed the need. Started researching hygiene poverty and about if there was any assistance for it and found out there really isn’t," Trout said.
You will find anything from toiletries to household cleaning supplies to toilet paper at the hygiene pantry.
“We have a limit of 10 items per household, and each household can visit one time per month," Trout said.
The pantry is open Mondays and Wednesdays, as well as one Saturday per month. Families just need to show up at the location at 311 E. Main St. in Galesburg and a volunteer will assist you with your items.
Trout first opened the pantry in February 2021. Doing it all by herself out of a truck and cargo trailer, she realized she needed to get indoors and find volunteers, as the need was more than she imagined. She was able to secure an indoor location a few months later in April 2021.
She has a group of about 6 amazing volunteers who work hard as the demand every month keeps growing. “We served 304 people last month," said Trout.
Sonja Sibley is one of the volunteers and knows Trout is more than deserving for the award. “This is very deserving because it’s a blessing. It really helps a lot of people out, yeah…. We get people to come up and be so thankful," Sibley said.
Acquiring funds to get the items has proved difficult at times. They receive item donations, monetary donations, and the majority of their funding comes from grants. Finding those state and federal grants can be hard to come by, so the money from the award will be put to good use!
Helping people is why Trout does it. “This has just become my passion. It’s not work for me, I don’t get paid for doing this but I probably spend 40 hours a week on this mission," said Trout.
See previous Pay It Forward award winners: