Crews are putting the final touches on the Clearinghouse of Jefferson County food pantry that is set to open Oct. 1.

Construction of the pantry space is complete, and workers are now installing equipment and walk-in freezer/cooler, Clearinghouse Project Director Molly Dodge reported at the monthly Clearinghouse planning meeting Tuesday morning.

When finished next year, the Clearinghouse will provide area families one-stop access to faith-based, non-profits and charitable services.

The pantry will be located on the lower level of the Clearinghouse building at 100 E. Second St. It will be equipped with a digital-temperature monitoring system that will send out alerts when temperatures are out of range.

The food bank will be operated and maintained by faith-based organization House of Hope, which includes a number of local churches. The board of 10 will meet once a week to plan the opening.

"I'm amazed by what these folks have been doing to open the food pantry," Dodge said.

For the food bank, Clearinghouse will partner with Gleaners Food Back of Indiana.

Gleaners typically requires a pantry to be in service for at least 90 days before establishing a partnership, but because so many churches affiliated in House of Hope already are involved in Gleaners, the waiting period has been waived.

Dodge also reported Tuesday that the new owner of the Ebenezer United Methodist Church has donated some of the church pews, which will be used as seating for the Clearinghouse pantry area.

In addition, Walmart donated shelving for the food pantry and ProLift Industries is expected to provide discounted forklift and pallet jack.

Also at the meeting:

• The Hanover summer meal program nearly tripled in size this year. Last year, the program served more than 400 children, while this year it served nearly 1,200.

• Dodge reported that she has submitted grant proposals to the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County for funds related to first-floor Clearinghouse renovations, as well as the James Graham Brown Foundation, which provides funding in fields of civic affairs, economic development, education and health and general welfare.

• The next Clearinghouse planning meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sept. 12 at River Valley Resource downtown office.