The Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry helps more than 8,000 individuals and 2,000 families each month. But a steady increase in those needing help and a decrease in funding is making it difficult for the pantry to help everyone.
Three days a week hundreds line up outside the food pantry to receive bags of groceries. Volunteers and staff are committed to end hunger in their community. Every day they receive and sort food, and by the end of the week it is all gone.
"Last year we gave out about a million pounds of food. This year we are heading toward an even greater number than that. There has been a cut in the emergency food and shelter program, we get a grant from that program just to specifically purchase food, that is being slashed in 2011 by 40 percent and it's recommended another 10-percent cut next year," said Marilyn Weisner, executive director, Aurora Area Food Interfaith Food Pantry.
"When I first started here, it was about two years ago, we were passing out approximately150 bags of groceries a day. Today we're doing anywhere from 300 to 360...My biggest fear: we will not have enough food when they come and ask," said Mike Galgano, Aurora Area Food Interfaith Food Pantry.
For 30 years, the food pantry has been feeding people in need and that need has gone up 115 percent in the last two years. Their funds have also been cut.
"We really count on the support of the community, food drives...food donations and funding donations as well," said Weisner. "It is very heartbreaking and we worry...are we going to be able to continue to meet the need."
Selinda Ojeda is not only a volunteer at the pantry, she is also a recipient.
"I have three children, and it's hard. I am thankful to have food pantry," Ojeda told ABC7.
"If we can give them food they can use the money for other areas which there is not help," said Weisner.
Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry
POBox 2602, Aurora, IL 60507