Our Mission

 

Leading the Northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships.

 
Northern Illinois Food Bank is the source of nutritious food, innovative feeding programs, and hope for more than 71,000 people each week. As a nonprofit organization with a goal of solving hunger in our 13-county service area, we rely on community partners – the local food pantries and feeding programs, food manufacturers and retailers, companies, foundations and individuals who join with us in our vision for no one to be hungry in northern Illinois. We invite you to join us, through volunteering at one of our three centers (West Suburban Center in Geneva; North Suburban Center in Park City; Northwest Center in Rockford), becoming a financial or food donor, helping us spread the word about hunger in our community, and participating in our Facebook and Twitter conversations. Northern Illinois Food Bank is a member of Feeding America.
 

Service Area

Who We Serve


Hunger Study 2014

 

Hunger Study Infographic

A new study by Northern Illinois Food Bank and Feeding America shows that nearly 600,000 people in northern Illinois turn to food pantries and meal programs to feed themselves and their families. The Hunger in America 2014 study is Feeding America’s sixth extensive study of hunger. As a member of the Feeding America network, Northern Illinois Food Bank participates in this study to better understand the needs of our hungry neighbors. Completed every four years, the study surveys the food pantries and feeding programs in the Northern Illinois Food Bank network and the people who seek food assistance from them.

According to the Hunger in America 2014 local findings, Northern Illinois Food Bank serves more than 71,000 people each week. These hungry neighbors use our food pantries and feeding programs on average eight times per year. The study provides insightful demographic data, offering a snapshot of who Northern Illinois Food Bank serves:

  • Children under age 18 make up 36 percent of our hungry neighbors, while seniors age 60 and older make up nine percent.
  • Among all hungry neighbors, 40 percent identify as white, 33 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino and 17 percent identify as black or African American.
  • 66 percent of households that use the Food Bank’s services have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty level.
  • 78 percent of people who use the Food Bank’s services have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, and 30 percent have completed some college, earned a business, trade or technical degree or completed a four-year college degree or higher level of education.

The study shows that clients are making tough choices. Based on the report, 77 percent of households the Food Bank serves had to choose between paying for food and utilities in the past 12 months, and 62 percent had to choose between food and paying for medicine/medical care in the past 12 months. We also learn from the report that hungry neighbors are struggling with health issues: 53 percent of households report at least one member with high blood pressure, while 26 percent of households have at least one member with diabetes.

Follow the links below for more information about the Hunger in America 2014 study and to learn about hunger in your community and the United States:

Hunger in America 2014 – Northern Illinois Food Bank Report

Hunger in America 2014 – Infographic

Hunger In America 2014 – National Report


History

Northern Illinois Food Bank began as a dream of Sister Rosemarie Burian, who awoke one morning in 1982 with an idea to open a center for the poor in DuPage County. From that idea, Bethlehem Center was born. Sister Rosemarie distributed the first food in May 1983. In its first full year of operation, 64,000 pounds of food were distributed through 80 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Over 30 years, the Food Bank’s name has changed, its address has changed, and staff has changed; but the one thing that has remained consistent is our commitment to feeding our hungry neighbors. Watch the transformation below or learn more in our timeline.