While the need in the Fox Valley area is great this holiday season, so is the generosity of the community, who has stepped up with both food and monetary donations.
Kendall County Food Pantry in Yorkville has seen its usage increase by 300 percent in the last two years, and pantry officials expect the percentage to stay the same, if not grow, next year.
“We’re hoping we’re wrong and those numbers are very inflated, but I’m afraid they aren’t,” said Judy Pacheco, executive assistant for the pantry.
She attributes some of the increase to the economy’s woes.
“People are losing their jobs, or are underemployed, or their hours have been cut,” Pacheco said.
For the Thanksgiving holiday, the Kendall County Food Pantry will be giving turkeys to about 600 area residents. While donations to the pantry helped fund some of the turkeys, others were donated by area citizens.
“The community came through with quite a few,” Pacheco said.
For those who would like to help support the pantry this holiday season, a number of items are needed: “Paper products and cleaning products are really in short demand for us,” Pacheco said. “Also pet food.”
Personal items such as toothpaste, shampoo and soap are also needed. And the pantry will continue to take turkeys.
“We always have walk-ins so we could use more,” Pacheco said.
Items needed at the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry, next to Hesed House on River Street, include hot and cold breakfast cereal, baby formula, diapers, and non-perishable food such as canned fruits and vegetables, spaghetti sauce and pasta, soup, baking mixes, peanut butter and jelly, beans, and rice.
This month the pantry has been hosting it’s fourth annual Holiday Food Drive. Through Nov. 23, people can purchase pre-assembled bags of food at a cost of $5, $10 and $15 at Prisco’s Fine Foods, 1108 Prairie St., Aurora, Cermak Fresh Market, 1250 N. Lake St., Aurora, and Jewel-Osco, 1157 Eola Rd., Aurora, which will be given to needy households.
Donations to the pantry can also be made online by clicking here, or mailed as a check to Holiday Food Drive, c/o Dolan & Murphy, 765 Orchard Ave., Aurora, IL 60506.
Pantry officials said they provided food for a Thanksgiving meal to more than 1,000 families last year, and expect that number to increase to 1,200 this year.
Food donations are accepted from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Pantry office at 659 S. River St., or by appointment by calling (630) 897-2127, according to the pantry’s website.