DuPage Township Food Pantry becomes 'speedway' for Holiday Meal Box distribution

DUPAGE TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WLS) -- Once a year, the DuPage Township Food Pantry's parking lot in Romeoville turns into a speedway of sorts.

"I'm a big NASCAR fan, so we're trying to make sure that people don't have to wait in their cars, or run their cars or waste gas, have to be out there for a couple of hours," said DuPage Township Supervisor Bill Mayer.

The system works. Teams of volunteers, from Romeoville firefighters to members of the American Legion, come out to help load more than 500 cars with Holiday meal Boxes in just one day.

"It's a very rewarding time. It really is, and that's what our goal is," said Pantry Manager David Locke. "It's not just to pass out the food. It's to help people."

"I'm grateful to God to have a place like this to come. And I pray that whoever is behind all this will continue," said Romeoville resident Joan Alabi. "You are really helping a lot families."

The agency serves over 1,000 families per month. While the Holiday Meal Box distribution strictly concentrates on Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, community members can stop by twice a month for other groceries.

"I live with my girlfriend and my mom who is 95, and we come over here to the pantry," said Bolingbrook resident Kenneth Brooks. "It just helps out financially."

"There was a time when I needed help, and my father, a lot of times, would rather struggle then ask for help, so I understand what is to need help," said American Legion Romeoville Post 52 Member George Sanchez. "And sometimes this is an opportunity to help."

The Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank are partners in ABC7's "Share the Joy" campaign.
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