by Penni Cannova
Mike Jankiewicz, chairperson of the Focus on Hunger Ministry at St. Isidore, recently shared the many opportunities that directly help those facing hunger. The Ministry is piloting a new effort to directly reach those who are most in need – people in our surrounding area who are shut-ins and cannot easily access a food pantry.
Focus on Hunger is providing support to Neighborhood
Food Pantries (NFP), a faith-based nonprofit group
operating six pantries in NW DuPage County. NFP works
with local churches to increase access to nutritious food.
Two of their pantries are located at nearby churches,
Resurrection Parish in Wayne and Lutheran Church of the
Master in Carol Stream.
Focus on Hunger volunteers, in their work at these
pantries, learned of this opportunity to reach neighbors
who cannot travel to food pantries. The pilot program is
modeled after one at an Elmhurst pantry. In this initial
stage, the pantry at Lutheran Church of the Master
established a relationship with the residents of Colony
Park Apartments in Carol Stream. The administrators at
Colony Park identified ten individuals who are homebound
and would greatly benefit from the delivery of groceries by
volunteers. The staff at Colony Park gave these residents
an order form to select items they would like, and then
the volunteers come together to fill the orders at the
pantry. The Focus on Hunger volunteers hope that this
first pilot group lays the foundation for them to help more
homebound residents at Colony Park.
Focus on Hunger has been at work in our parish to
advocate and directly support the hungry in our
community prior to this effort. They give their time at the
Northern Illinois Food Bank facility three times a year,
during Hunger Action Month in September, and during
Advent and Lent, traditional times of service to those who
are poor. Each time, 25-30 parishioners sign up to partake
in this work, from packing bags of onion and potatoes to
any other work needed at the time.
The ministry will support Feed My Starving Children
packing events. St. Isidore has conducted these before, and
now these events will become part of the Focus on Hunger
ministry for a more integrated and systematic effort. Mike
said that the group plans to conduct three of these events
Every May, Focus on Hunger volunteers work with Bread
for the World in a letter-writing campaign to advocate
for the elimination of hunger. These letters are delivered
directly to our local and federal representatives and two
Lastly, the ministry sponsors the Thanksgiving Food Drive,
delivering about 200 food boxes to Bloomingdale Township
for their clients and about 130 to Our Lady of Sorrows
Church in Chicago.
In this way, the Ministry promotes volunteerism so that
parishioners may experience the deep impact resulting
from aiding those who are hungry.