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Kids give back with West Bloomington Revitalization Project pantry

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YouthBuild 1

Tyshon Fanning, front middle, helps his peers and instructor balance the new little free pantry at the West Bloomington Revitalization Project on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. 

BLOOMINGTON — Three Youthbuild McLean County students joined their construction instructor to install a new little free pantry at the West Bloomington Revitalization Project on Monday.

Tyshon Fanning, Violet Brown and Diem Le stopped by WBRP’s office with Youthbuild Construction Instructor Dana Crutcher. They removed the old pantry and then replaced it with with a larger one.

The old pantry had been there for a little over a year, said WBRP Manager Hannah Russell. It had seen some problems with broken doors and leaks so WBRP reached out to Youthbuild about getting a replacement. The two organizations also work together on the Bed Blitz.

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The pantry is a community resource that provides free food, and sometimes other necessities, to those who are struggling to access them in other ways.

“People can donate food, so they put food in, and anyone can take food out,” Russell said.

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Youthbuild is a program that gives students who do not learn well in traditional classroom setting a chance to finish high school while also receiving occupational training. Youthbuild McLean County offers tracks in construction, information technology and healthcare.

Fanning has spent around three and a half years in the program, and also worked on some of Youthbuild’s projects with Pet Central Helps animal rescue.

YouthBuild 2

Diem Le, left, Violet Brown, right, and Tyshon Fanning, back, work to loosen the old little free pantry at the West Bloomington Revitalization Project before replacing it with a new one on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. 

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“I helped out on a couple houses on Olive and Grove,” Fanning said.

While Fanning is not sure if he will go into construction, but is glad that he has learned the skills as they could be useful later on in day to day life, he said. He is also appreciative of the atmosphere that Youthbuild provides.

“It’s like a family-type of vibe, it doesn’t really feel like school,” he said.

Contact Connor Wood at (309)820-3240. Follow Connor on Twitter: @connorkwood


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