Spirit of Giving: Community Table in Lombard

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The Northern Illinois Food Bank says about 10 percent of those who regularly seek meals from pantries and soup kitchens are seniors. (WLS)

This week, ABC7 is teaming up with the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the Greater Chicago Food Depository for "Spirit of Giving: Helping Fight Hunger." We are highlighting the need for us all to get involved and help those in need.

Even when you start out life in the best of times, you can never be too sure of what will lie ahead. The Northern Illinois Food Bank tells us that about 10 percent of those who regularly seek meals from pantries and soup kitchens are seniors.

Fred Gunzel is one of them. He's 85-and-a-half years old. Yes, he counts halves these days.

"All the blessings I can get!" Gunzel said.

He was a chemist by trade and worked until age 76. He lost his pension when the company he worked for went bankrupt. Now, he struggles to put food on the table.

"So I come to places like this, cut corners," Gunzel said. "Food is expensive and food is very necessary and the food here is very acceptable."

Every Wednesday night, he comes here to the community table in the basement of the First Church of Lombard. It's a time when he can be social and get a free hot meal.

"We still get homeless people in here. We get people who just need a good meal once a week. We get people who don't need a good meal, but they come just to be with the other people and talk," said Larry Hebert, volunteer coordinator.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank supplies the food to this organization and hundreds of others in the suburbs.

"We know through the Brookings Institute report that there are more people living in poverty in the suburbs of Chicago than there are in the city itself," said Donna Lake, Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Gunzel says he hopes more people would look out for seniors and consider offering help.

"Stop and consider what it is, what it means to those of us who appreciate the help and I'll tell you what. It's not just the money, it's the people who donate their time and their effort. They like people. They are concerned about their neighbors. And that is part of spiritual life, too," Gunzel said.

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