Solve hunger today: providing nutritious meals for the Northern Illinois community

Continuing with the weekly post from Yosef Meystel about charities in the Midwest and how they help the community and their surroundings. We have talked about sports charities, pet charities, and homeless charities and so on. This time, we are going to talk about a charity that its main focus is not exactly the city of Chicago. Instead, they serve the  greater community of Northern Illinois and surrounding areas in the counties of Boone, DuPage, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Will and Winnebago and they provide very nutritious meals to those in need and that don’t have the opportunity to have the 3 meals of the day. This is all done through the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Northern Illinois Food Bank_charity in Chicago_Yosef Meystel

Image courtesy of COD Newsroom at Flickr.com

Solve Hunger Today has 4 locations in Northern Illinois in the following addresses:  West Suburban Center, 273 Dearborn Court, Geneva, IL 60134; North Suburban Center 440 Keller Drive Park City, IL 60085; Northwest Center, 765 Research Parkway, Rockford, IL 61109; South Suburban Office, 3033 W. Jefferson Street., Suite 210, Joliet, IL 60435. In these centers they also provide volunteering and tours of the facilities at each of the three centers. Also, they have state-of-the-art meeting spaces to rent to companies wishing to hold off-site meetings in their West Suburban Center in Geneva. This provides customers with a full experience when it comes to holding teambuilding meetings

The story began in 1982 when Sister Rosemarie Burian did many activities to start her dream of opening a center for the poor in DuPage County. This idea gave birth to the very well-known Bethlehem Center. The next year, Sister Rosemarie distributed the first food in May and by the end of the first year of helping the poor, the center distributed almost 64,000 pounds of food using  80 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Many years passed and the center changed its name several times and got certified in every needed certification to operate. In 1996 the Food bank distributed 6 million pounds of food to hungry people (they call neighbors) in 13 counties and in the years to come they started the Youth Nutrition Program  which served  lunch to 50 kids per day during the summer; they started the Mobile Pantry Program to provide direct service to low-income areas; and the Holiday Meal Box Program kicked off in which about 3,500 meals were distributed to hungry families. In the year 2000, the Bethlehem Center Food Bank changed its name to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. As for more recent achievements, after serving meals with record numbers in the northern Illinois area, in the year 2012 they were awarded the  LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming the first new-construction food bank in the country to hold this very important award. The energy savings realized through these environmentally-friendly features will allow the food bank to provide 300,000 more meals for hungry neighbors in the areas they cover.

The community can help in 4 ways:

  1. Give funds: as every other charity, Solve Hunger Today and the Northern Illinois Food Bank receive donation form any person or company willing to help. For every $1 donated, Northern Illinois Food Bank provides $8 worth of groceries to a neighbor in need.

  2. Give food: people can host what they call food drives in their community. This could be done directly or through the web and all of the contributions from businesses, schools, community organizations and individuals generate thousands of meals for hungry people. Every food and product donation helps them reach their strategic vision of providing enough food for every meal, every day, for every hungry neighbor by 2020.

    COD Cares 2015 Fall Day of Action and Pumpkin Party._Northern Illinois Food Bank_charity_Yosef Meystel

    Image courtesy of COD Newsroom at Flickr.com

  3. Give time: people can also help by volunteering  within the community. The food Bank uses volunteers to help sort and pack food, provide administrative support, plan special events and speak to community groups. There are other ways to help, for example by hosting a birthday party, earning a patch or even renting the corporate meeting spaces will help feed a neighbor.
  4. Events: people can help by participating in the vents by doing the following activities:  Volunteer to help plan, solicit auction items or cheer on runners at the Foodie 5K; Register for an event or purchase tickets; Sponsor an event and receive recognition; Host your own event or promotion and donate the funds; and/or purchase products or food at a retail store where a portion of the sales benefit the Food Bank

Here we have yet another charity in the Illinois area that is helping hungry, poor people on a big scale and with a wide coverage. All their activities are aimed at gathering food or help for the hungry and it has been successful since day one.

Learn more about amazing charities in the following article

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