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Pastor John Hauck of First United Methodist Church of Paxton, (left) accepts a $10,000 donation for the Hands of Christ Food Pantry from Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois, represented by Nick Reutter, Paxton Market President of Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois, (right).

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Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois recently donated $10,000 to the Hands of Christ Food Pantry in Paxton.

The pantry is a joint effort of representatives from six area churches that currently serves all of Ford county and the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district geographical area.

The donation was sourced through a COVID-19 Relief Program Grant provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago). The grants aim to support FHLBank Chicago’s member institutions, such as Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois, and the communities they serve as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois chose to rapidly deploy the relief funds to Hands of Christ Food Pantry, as the pantry has seen new families with needs over the past few months amid the coronavirus.

“We were thrilled to receive this generous donation from our friends at Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois to aid us in our response to those needing food support during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pastor John Hauck of First United Methodist Church of Paxton, a Hands of Christ Food Pantry member church. “During the months of March through May, we have been able to meet many needs, but we anticipate an increase in needs as we move into the summer months when the schools will no longer provide lunches for families with school-aged children. These funds will help us continue to meet this increased need through emergency food distributions to feed the children, families and seniors facing uncertainty in our communities.”

“Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois has always been committed to being the preferred financial partner within our community. Our commitment has only grown deeper during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Nick Reutter, Paxton Market President of Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois. “By proactively applying for a FHLBank Chicago grant, we were able to make a positive impact in the communities we serve and will provide much-needed food during these uncertain times. It is a privilege to work with Hands of Christ Food Pantry, an organization that shares our passion for advancing health and financial wellness in Ford County.”

To learn more about Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois and its services, visit

Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois, formerly known as Joy State Bank and Farmers-Merchants National Bank of Paxton, has served Illinois communities for more than 100 years. The bank strives to maintain the values that have driven the bank’s longevity: friendly customer service and a wide range of valuable products and services. Along with its online presence, Farmers-Merchants Bank of Illinois maintains offices in Joy, New Boston, Paxton, Piper City and Melvin.