Neighborhood Food Pantry in the News

Local Fundraiser Provides Weeks of Food for DuPage County Neighbors in Need

By Lorena Grimes

The Belmont Village Geneva Road senior living center in Carol Stream celebrated its 15th anniversary with the Fill-A-Pot fundraiser that collected $2,500 for Neighborhood Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing food to neighbors in need.

The $2,500 will provide approximately six weeks of food for families at risk of hunger.

“Here at the Neighborhood Food Pantry, we operate on a shoestring budget from month-to-month,” said Patrick Coady, co-coordinator for the Neighborhood Food Pantry in the Lutheran Church of the Master in Carol Stream.

“We feed 400-plus families a month, and the charitable contributions from our community are crucial to our ability to continue. The money Belmont Village raised fills our pantry shelves with food for weeks. We are humbled by the generosity and we couldn’t be more thankful.”

“We always look for ways to be a good neighbor and support a local, grass-roots organization,” said Jeanne Hansen, executive director at Belmont Village Geneva Road.

“We teamed up with Neighborhood Food Pantry because they make a direct impact on struggling families in DuPage County. This partnership has been rewarding for our residents, staff and family members and we hope that other businesses will follow our lead.”

According to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, approximately 87,200 DuPage County residents (about 9.6 percent) are at risk of hunger, with nearly 50,576 ineligible for public benefits. More than 37,000 children in the county (16.4 percent) are at risk of hunger and, for many, their main meal of the day is provided at school through the free and reduced-price lunch program.

“It was a humbling experience to learn about how the money helps families in Carol Stream, and to see how dedicated the volunteers are in distributing the food,” said Carol Vocak, resident at Belmont Village Geneva Road. “You know there are hungry people, but seeing it first hand was eye opening.”

The Fill-A-Pot event is Belmont Village’s second fundraiser to benefit the local food pantry. In November, Belmont Village’s Ladies Night Out fundraiser raised enough money for the Neighborhood Food Pantry to purchase a large refrigerator for food storage.

“Belmont Village saw the need in our own community and really stepped up to the plate last fall by funding a huge, double-door display refrigerator,” said Carol Platt, co-coordinator for the Neighborhood Food Pantry.

“The refrigerator allows us to be able to give our guests at the pantry fresh produce and fresh dairy products.”