By Barb Mendralla
By utilizing the existing food distribution network of the Neighborhood Food Pantries, coupled with the purchasing power of Northern Illinois Food Bank, we can help many of our neighbors celebrate Thanksgiving with delicious meals.
You may be asking yourself, what is the difference between the food pantries St. Isidore supports and a food bank?
Our parish is one of the founding partners of Neighborhood Food Pantries, which was once known as Feeding Northwest DuPage. Neighborhood Food Pantries is comprised of covenant partners who support it by providing funds, facilities, and/or volunteers. Neighborhood Food Pantries provides food assistance which is distributed through its network of seven sites.
Here are some staggering statistics for the 12 month period ending June 30, 2015, as stated on its website, neighborhoodfp.org:
- Neighborhood Food Pantries served
- 3,629 families
- 24,692 times
- 53,928 adults
- 41,772 kids
- 9,195 seniors
That’s 1,996,666 lbs. of food, 1,383,257 of which was donated by supporters, community gardens, and recovered from stores. And that’s just for our little section of DuPage County!
The 613,409 pounds of food not donated was purchased from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The funds for purchasing the food come from Neighborhood Food Pantries covenant church contributions, other church and organization contributions, individual contributions, grants and fundraising.
You may wonder why the food pantries don’t rely solely on food donations. The answer is because the food Northern Illinois Food Bank has for distribution is received primarily as donations from corporate food sponsors. A $20 donation made to Neighborhood Food Pantries, allows them to purchase 333 pounds of food from the food bank, which in effect, maximizes your donation.
This is also why St. Isidore partnered with the food bank in providing Thanksgiving meals to our neighbors. A $20 donation provides a full holiday meal for eight people, a substantially lower cost than if the food was purchased from a grocery store.
So whether it be through the food pantries or the food bank, we have many ways to answer the call to feed our neighbors in Christ.
The generous will be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.