'Here for one another': Northern Illinois Food Bank ensures families are fed at pop-up Elgin market

'Demand is up, and we are here to help neighbors out that need it,' said Mike Keane with the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

ByChristian Piekos WLS logo
Sunday, December 4, 2022
Food bank ensures families are fed through west suburban pop-up market
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The Northern Illinois Food Bank gave away turkey and other nutritious goods at Elgin Community College.

ELGIN, Ill. (WLS) -- Lines of cars snaked through the parking lot of Elgin Community College on a frigid Saturday morning as boxes of food were packed into each.

It's a perfect example of neighbors helping neighbors during the season of giving.

"Demand is up, and we are here to help neighbors out that need it," said Mike Keane with the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank and a team of generous volunteers braved the cold temperatures to make sure families are fed through a pop-up mobile market.

SEE ALSO | Inflation taking toll on food banks as more Chicagoland families face hunger

Two semi-trucks packed with food awaited the many families needing groceries.

"To get 75 people out here in a 22-degree Saturday morning at 9 in the morning to load cars, we're really thankful for our volunteers and how they help us out," Keane said.

Northern Illinois Food Bank officials report nearly 450,000 families are seeking assistance from the nonprofit monthly, an increase of 40% from this time last year.

The food bank launched the drive-thru mobile markets for communities with high need during the peak days of the COVID-19 pandemic. They are equipped to serve upwards of 2,000 families during a single distribution.

"Thank you very much. God bless you guys," said Brian Henderson, a food bank recipient.

Henderson is one of the many individuals who was on the receiving end of Saturday's mobile market.

"I like doing this. I enjoy seeing people that's helping out. There are so many cars today. It's unbelievable," Henderson said.

Each car received a whole chicken and other frozen goods, totaling 40 pounds of nutritious goods for each family. No personal information was needed, just kindness shown.

"It's really, really cold, but we don't care about that. We're just here for one another," said Anett Melchor, an Elgin Community College student.

Melchor was one of the many volunteers making life just a bit easier for people she's never met.

"It just feels really nice giving back to my community," Melchor said.

During the season of giving, even in the bitter cold, generosity is shown one box at a time.