Northern Illinois Food Bank
Over the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer at the Northern Illinois Food Bank in Park City, Illinois. Prior to my volunteering, I had no idea it existed. I gave some of my free time with a group of other individuals who are trying to make a difference in the community. Every year, I will volunteer a number of times primarily in November. Perhaps Thanksgiving and blustery weather reminds me of my gratefulness tree so helping the less fortunate is critical to my soul.
According to their website, this organization has been involved in helping solve hunger in the area for the last 30 years. Apart from volunteering, I really want to help out this organization. So I committed to bringing in more food items next time I’m ready to volunteer or in the neighborhood. Our representative at the Food Bank was Scott would politely interrupted and said, “I appreciate the offer and just so you realize, the biggest bang for the buck would be monetary donations.” I failed to realize that for every dollar donated to help stamp out hunger, this organization is able to purchase $8 worth of nutritious groceries. Who am I to think I could do a better job for this organization? I realized any future contributions I commit to the food bank will be in donated dollars to help out as many families as possible.
According to Lake County Food Bank’s website, I read 97 percent of resources are directly applied to feeding our hungry neighbors. I suspect the many volunteers who sort, pack and prepare for distribution significantly keep the administrative expenses low. I respect non-for profit organizations that spend very little on administrative expenses and at the same time, do an admirable job serving the less fortunate. The website also states that the Northern Illinois Food Bank has earned a four-star rating by Charity Navigator, an independent organization that evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of charities. A few other facts I learned through volunteering:
- This organization serves a 13 county area (see below for a full list) in northeast Illinois. Food is distributed through food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth and senior feeding programs and mobile pantries.
- Almost 50 percent of our hungry neighbors don’t quality for any form of Federal assistance, so the network of food banks and food programs may be their only source of assistance.
- The most recent Map the Meal Gap study, released by Feeding America on June 10, 2013, indicates that more than 10 percent of people living in our 13-county service area will face hunger sometime this year.
- Northern Illinois Food Bank helps feed over 500,000 hungry neighbors annually.
FROM THEIR WEBSITE — Northern Illinois Food Bank is a non-profit organization that engages the community in a commitment to feed our hungry neighbors. Across 13 counties, food manufacturers, local groceries, corporations, foundations, and individuals come together to donate food and funds, and evaluate and repack food for distribution to our more than 600 network partners – the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than 60,000 different people each week.
The food bank has centers in Geneva (West Suburban Center), Lake County (North Suburban Center) and Loves Park (Northwest Center) and has an office in Joliet. Northern Illinois Food Bank serves the following counties: Boone, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago. Our vision is for no one to be hungry in northern Illinois. Our mission is to lead the northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships.