QUINCY — So much for Kevin Reed's alleged “retirement.”
Reed, the former president of Reed Promotional Media, announced his retirement a few months ago and was soon looking for a worthwhile cause to fill some of his time.
He certainly seems to have found his calling.
“I'm now semi-retired,” he says.
Reed and his wife, Barb, donate quite a bit of their time to making sure food pantries across the city are supplied for those who need assistance.
“We never imagined it would build to what it has,” Reed said.
And in less than three months.
“We just wanted to do something,” Reed said.
And they have.
Stocking the pantries has become what Reed refers to as a “hobby” — a hobby that is helping others.
“We're not the only ones doing this,” he said. “There's probably a few dozen people helping in this way.”
In particular, Reed points to Tracy Kiefer and Rhonda Murry as mentorlike figures who have provided guidance. Reed says he and his wife are not affiliated with any organization that works in a similar fashion.
“We like to work independently,” Reed said.
As their operation has blossomed, the Reeds have started accepting donations to provide even more food for those in need. In about two months, Reed said close to $4,000 has been donated toward the pantries.
The Reeds do their shopping about 7 a.m., usually on a weekend morning, and then work for about the next three hours dispersing the goods at the following pantry sites:
• 407 S. Fourth.
• 812 Payson Ave.
• 1129 N. Sixth.
• 609 N. Sixth.
• 101 S. Seventh.
• 810 Elm.
• Two other sites are also assisted when the need arises — 18th and Harrison in front of Hope Lutheran Church and a pantry near St. James Lutheran School at 900 S. 17th.
The project is rapidly growing to the point where Reed said volunteers may soon be sought to assist. He also said all donations are tax deductible.
Monetary donations may be mailed to or dropped off to the Reeds at 2809 Southfield, or through mobile payment services PayPal and Venmo. Reed also may be contacted at 217-257-8400.
“We are also happy to pick up any donations,” Reed said.
Reed said monetary donations are suggested.
“It's easier for us to do the buying,” he said. “We know what is needed most (in certain areas).”
For example, Reed said there is one site that has a higher need for baby food. He also noted “a $20 donation can buy about 50 mac-and-cheese dinners, or 40 pounds of bananas.”
Reed had declined interview requests in the past, he said, because he and his wife did not want to be the focus of the mission. Now, he feels, the more people who come to realize what is being done may encourage more donations to keep the project moving forward. The Reeds did, however, politely decline having their photo taken for this story.