Hinsdale pantry provides food for hundreds of families

November 1, 2012 3:31:55 PM PDT
Here at ABC7 we are kicking off the "Spirit of Giving Food Drive" along with Dominick's grocery stores. We are collecting food and raising funds that will go to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank for distribution. They tell us the need is continuously growing -- even in places where you might not expect it. We stopped by the food pantry in west suburban Hinsdale to see firsthand.

Hinsdale is known as an idyllic suburb of million dollar homes with well-heeled inhabitants. But some say that image can be misleading.

"What we're finding out more and more is people are coming here and getting food because the choice is pay my rent or eat," said Albert Sunseri, executive director, HCS Family Services.

But in the middle of its quaint downtown is the HCS Family Services food pantry. Sunseri says the pantry is a lifeline for hundreds of families.

"I can tell you about Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale. We have about approximately 100 households that come here for food. That's about 250 people. We have the areas of Willowbrook, Darien and Westmont and the United Way has looked at Willowbrook and Westmont as two areas in dire need," said Sunseri.

Bianca Woods moved to Willowbrook in search of better schools for her children. Then she fell on hard times. Woods says the pantry has helped keep her afloat.

"I lost my job, so for a few months I wasn't working which kind of caused a spiral of financial trouble with providing food and even providing a home for my family. I was on the verge of basically being evicted," said Sunseri.

The pantry relies on donations from neighbors but gets most of its supplies from the Northern Illinois Food Bank. CEO Pete Schaefer says his food bank feeds about 60,000 people each week.

"It's been dramatic, not only here in DuPage County, but in the entire 13 counties that we service, increases of 35, 50 percent over the last couple of years when you expect things to get a little bit better. But at this pantry and every pantry I've been to in the last year, the need continues to grow," said Schaefer.

"Even in areas where you would not think there is a need for food, everyone and anyone can fall on hard times at any given moment. One day you may be in the best situation and the next day, you may be in the worst," said Woods.

If you'd like to donate to the "Spirit of Giving Food Drive," you can go into any Dominick's store and purchase food or drop non-perishable food items in the bins. You can also give through social media. Go to the ABC7Chicago Facebook or Twitter pages. We will make a $1r donation for every new "like" and every new follower up to $10,000. You can also donate on our website at abc7chicago.com


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