Going to the grocery store these days can cost up to twice what it was a year ago. And that’s just for staples. It can be even more when you want to add fresh fruits or vegetables.
Food pantries across the region are also feeling the slump, both with the cash and the extra customers they serve.
Heather L. Kash, director of development for Neighborhood Food Pantries, which has six locations in DuPage County, says the organization served more than 10,500 people in its last fiscal year.
For many families, it’s a choice between paying rent or utilities or buying food.
The organization, which has been in existence since 1999, allows families to shop for nutritious foods with dignity, just as they would at the grocery store.
The organization is teaming up with local grocery stores, churches and businesses to keep their shelves full.
He also organizes various fundraisers, including the next Shopping Cart Shuffle, which will take place on August 6 in Hanover Park.
Kash talks about Neighborhood Food Pantries and their upcoming event.
Q: What are neighborhood pantries? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and who you serve.
A: We are a pantry network located in DuPage County. Our six food pantries are located in Carol Stream (two locations), Glendale Heights, Warrenville, Wayne and West Chicago. Pantry customers can visit our locations weekly and receive a variety of meats, dairy, fresh produce and shelf stable items.
The Shopping Cart Shuffle is a family-friendly event that meanders through the trails of Lake Mallard. All proceeds go to Neighborhood Food Pantries, which has six locations in DuPage County.
– courtesy of Neighborhood Food Pantries
Q: Where do most of your donations come from?
A: We are fortunate to partner with local grocery stores, which provide both fresh, frozen and shelf stable produce before it reaches its best before date. We also receive donations from local food drives hosted by businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals, as well as financial support from local churches, foundations, individuals, and events like our annual 5K.
Q: How many people do you serve per year?
A: In our last fiscal year, we served over 10,500 people, nearly 40% of them children, through over 25,000 visits to our food pantries.
Q: What are some of your programs?
A: Our main program is to provide food to our food pantry customers. Customers can “shop” our pantries, making food selections that suit their family at no cost to them. Through our partnerships with local stores, we are also able to preserve fresh, healthy food that is nearing expiry before it goes to landfills.
Q: Tell us about the Random Basket.
A: This year’s event will take place on Saturday, August 6 at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve, Schick Road and Mallard Lane, Hanover Park.
Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. The Kids’ Dash 500m begins at 8:15 a.m., followed by the 5k walk/run and 2k walk at 8:30 a.m.
The event is designed for serious runners and casual walkers. Our 5K is chip timed and USATF certified for serious runners, with rewards for times based on age group.
It also offers a 2km walk for those who wish to support the mission but are not ready for a full 5km. There is also a Kids’ Dash before the event.
We also offer a virtual option for those unable to attend the event.
This is a great opportunity for businesses, families and other organizations to sign up as a team for a fun, family-friendly event.
Top Women in the 2021 Shopping Cart Shuffle. The event is designed for serious runners and casual walkers. There is even a virtual option available.
– courtesy of Neighborhood Food Pantries
Q: How can people participate?
A: Register at bit.ly/SCS5K2022. The cost is $45 in advance and $50 on race day. Kids Dash is $20.
Q: How can readers help if they can’t attend the event?
A: Donate to the event at bit.ly/SCS5K2022, or explore our other events at www.neighborhoodfp.org/event.
Sign up at bit.ly/3b2Drcf to be a monthly donor. Just $19 a month will feed a local family each month.
To learn more, visit www.NeighborhoodFP.org.
Q: What else would you like readers to know?
A: We rely on the generosity of so many local individuals, businesses and organizations to help us fulfill our mission. We hope you’ll join us for this fun, family-friendly event!
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What: A walk/run to raise funds for Neighborhood Food Pantries
When: Saturday, August 6. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. The Kids’ Dash 500m starts at 8:15 a.m., followed by the 5k walk/run and 2k walk at 8:30 a.m. A virtual option is also available. .
Where: Mallard Lake Forest Reserve, Schick Road and Mallard Lane, Hanover Park
Cost: $45 in advance and $50 on race day; Kids Dash is $20
Sign up: bit.ly/SCS5K2022