Volunteer's mission to feed hungry year round; Linda Mahon a passionate worker at Greater Chicago Food Depository

December 2, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Whether it's helping with the heavy lifting or greeting those making weekly collections, Mahon, always finds a way to make herself useful at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

"This is my passion," she said. "This is the charity of my choice. This is the charity that I love."

She started several years ago volunteering once a month with co-workers. Then, she learned that her late father had been visiting local food pantries. He was too proud to ask her for help.

"In '06 he passed away and then that's when it just became a drive for me," Mahon said. "To know that when they fed my dad that when I come here and I work, I'm help feeding other dads, other moms."

Food providers say the number of people is growing and seniors are a high priority.

"Over the last five years, we've seen a 68 percent increase in the number of individuals turning to food pantries in our community," said Jim Conwell, Greater Chicago Food Depository. "We're also seeing more older adults who are no longer able to work who are struggling and it's tough for them to put food on the table, too."

Since volunteers are critical to the Greater Chicago Food Depository's operation, Mahon also acts as an ambassador, recruiting other volunteers. Recently, she helped Woo Young workers at a Price Waterhouse Cooper Resource Fair.

"Volunteering is so, so important because it helps keep the costs down," said Mahon. "Ninety-three percent of all proceeds that the food depository gets goes back into the program and that's because of the volunteers."

The ABC7 'Spirit of Giving' Food Drive is underway and Tuesday we'll be live at three locations, gathering donations, starting at 5 a.m.:

There are two ways you can give.

Head to your neighborhood Dominick's store where you can donate food or buy 10-dollar pre-packed bags of groceries.

Or go log onto the virtual food drive to donate.

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