Food banks essential for suburban families in need

At no other time is the need to feed the hungry more visible than during the holidays, but food providers stress that many of our neighbors have trouble putting food on the table all year long, a situation that's becoming increasingly more common in the suburbs.
November 30, 2013 9:30:35 PM PST
At no other time is the need to feed the hungry more visible than during the holidays, but food providers stress that many of our neighbors have trouble putting food on the table all year long, a situation that's becoming increasingly more common in the suburbs.

Even on a cold, snowy day, neighbors in Wayne Township line up and wait outdoors for their turn to get food. The Northern Illinois Food Bank brings its mobile food pantry stocked with all of the essentials to help families fill their plates.

"I'm a single mom of three. I probably wouldn't be able to have a good Thanksgiving if it wasn't for them," said Sheila Kloet of Carol Stream.

Organizers say there has been a steady rise of food insecurity in suburban areas since the economic downturn five years ago.

"The latest study has come out. There's actually more poverty in the suburbs now, including Chicago than in the city and in places where you wouldn't expect it, places like DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County," said Pete Schaefer, President and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Jessica Johnson works as a home health aide and says she often falls short. This outreach is the helping hand she needs.

"I have five people in my home. With little pay I mean the work I have, the little pay, it'll do a lot," said Johnson of Hanover Park.

Food providers say mobile set-ups are often critical in outlying areas.

"We've got to get the food to the people so just the lack of buses and trains that type of thing," Schaefer said. "Things like emergency shelters for people who get into emergency situations -- all of those things that maybe in the city we've been dealing with for a hundred years. In places like DuPage County it's a brand new phenomenon."

ABC 7 and Dominick's are teaming up for the "Spirit of Giving" food drive. It benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

You can help feed our hungry neighbors by dropping food in the bins or purchasing a bag of groceries for ten dollars at Dominick's. You can also donate to our virtual food drive.


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