URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — With soaring gas prices and inflation on the rise, many are figuring out the most affordable options to get their food. Salt and Light in Urbana used to be a food bank, but has since expanded, opening the door to more opportunities.

Amid the high costs for some grocery items, most are looking to save a buck, including Dorothea Johnson. Johnson has been involved with Salt and Light for five years.

“I use their services as well and for me that was a big help and that was a big savings,” Johnson said.

For many, a job is also a priority and Salt and Light’s General Manager, Michael Jenkins is stepping in to help.

“We moved into a participant program and that focuses on bringing people in who have material needs and giving them the chance to volunteer, learning work skills, developing relationships and earning that food while we work a program that gets them into the workforce,” Jenkins said.

Volunteer orientations are available twice a week, one in Champaign. Salt and Light offers several programs for people to get involved, whether you’re interested in technology or helping elsewhere.

“I would say yes, not only in the community, but in the country,” Jenkins said. “We have many organizations who come here, and they get the walk thru and they get the information. This is kind of undiscovered country.”

For Johnson, the location is perfect, making it hassle free.

“Being right here in the neighborhood, I can walk right here.” Jenkins added. “You can earn up to in credit, minimum wage for every hour that you volunteer and you can volunteer four hours a week and that can be used anywhere on the inside of the store.”

Jenkins said 70 percent of store credit earned by employees is used to buy food to help in these difficult times.

Jenkins also said the program has 150 open spots for participants, but there are also other spots to help volunteer. A food bank is hosting a food-mobile this weekend in Champaign at the Public Health Department. That will be Saturday from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, visit https://www.eifoodbank.org/help/mobile.html.