Aurora food pantry serves family at holidays and year round

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- On this Giving Tuesday, ABC7 Chicago invites you to join us in helping fight hunger through our Spirit of Giving food drive.

Northern Illinois Food Bank serves 13 counties in Illinois. They say one in seven people in our area is struggling to put food on the table.

At the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry, families line up one by one to get a helping hand.

"I did just recently lose my job because of the state and all that, but because of this place... This is actually my first time coming here. Now I'm going to celebrate this year," says Lisa Williams.

For some, it's the extra help they need around the holidays when winter heating bills and other expenses can stretch an already tight budget.

"Sometimes bills become overwhelming and you don't have money for food," says Jasmine Sims.

For others, visits to the food pantry are critical all year long.

"I was on unemployment until that ran out so I'm still looking for work," says Robert Gonzalez. "[My wife is] disabled. She had a stroke. Can't move her arm. So it does come in handy."

At the food pantry meats, fresh fruits and vegetable help sustain roughly 1,000 families each week.

"Anytime they can save money on their grocery bill, hopefully they can use that money for rent, medical bills, utilities and all the needs that they may have," says Kirstan Entsminger, who works at the food pantry.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank supplies some food to the Aurora pantry and is including holiday meal boxes with this week's pick-up. The boxes include a turkey and all the trimmings to feed a family of eight.

"I appreciate whoever is in charge and I ask God to bless them," says Josefina Estrenara.

The food bank plans to distribute roughly 36,000 meal boxes throughout the region during the holiday season.

"They may hear about the holiday meal box. We want people to know that they can go to their food pantry any time of the year to get the help that they need," says Donna Lake of the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

If you would like to make a donation or learn about other ways to help, click here.
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