NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Many wore orange Thursday for National Hunger Action Day, raising awareness about the fight to end hunger.
At Loaves and Fishes in Naperville, work to help end hunger is year-round. What began as a tiny operation inside a church in 1984 is today a 16,000 square-foot facility distributing close to 4 million pounds of food to more than 18,000 residents.
Almost 70 percent of families who come to Loaves and Fishes have young children.
"I felt scared and ashamed when I first came here," said Lacey Dobelman, a client.
Dobelman said when she first came into Loaves and Fishes, her husband had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and lost his job, right after their son was born.
"Everybody was awesome, they greeted me with smiles and joy and support," said Dobelman.
Those who greeted her were volunteers like Nancy Couch, who has logged more than 400 volunteer hours this year alone.
"The children melt your heart," said Couch.
Now, Dobelman is getting back on her feet, and her husband has a new job.
For more information about Loaves and Fishes, visit their website at loaves-fishes.org.
Get involved with Northern Illinois Food Bank:
--Hunger Action Month Pack-A-Thons on September 15 and 22 at our Park City and Rockford Centers, and we need more volunteers! Learn more or sign up at solvehungertoday.org/pack.
--Pass the Plate program - more than 15 restaurant locations across the suburbs are offering customers a variety of special menu options, discounts for donations made to the Food Bank, raffle tickets and more-all to help raise awareness and funds for our hungry neighbors!
--Host a physical or virtual food or fund drive, start a conversation on social about hunger, or come volunteer with us or your nearby pantry to get involved!
For more events and ways you can get involved, visit solvehungertoday.org.
Get involved with Greater Chicago Food Depository:
--32nd Annual Hunger Walk at Jackson Park on September 16. The event supports the Food Depository's network of partner agencies and raises awareness of hunger.
--Dine out at Chicago restaurants participating in the 86 Hunger campaign. A portion of the sales of select menu items will be donated to the Food Depository.
--Start a food drive by collecting shelf-stable food at home or at work.
Visit chicagosfoodbank.org for more ways to get involved.