When volunteers come to our centers to give their time, most aren’t just showing up on a whim. They often have inspiring stories about what brought them through our doors, and we love to hear, share, and celebrate those stories.
While all our volunteers have different reasons why they believe and have faith in our mission and why they decide to get involved in helping feed our hungry neighbors, some are called to action because part of their faith is to feed the hungry.
From February 11-18, we welcomed 23 faith-based organizations from across our service area at all three of our centers who came out to spend some time volunteering and giving back to the community during our second annual Full on Faith Week.
Full on Faith week was created as a week-long initiative dedicated to providing local mission opportunities for faith-based organizations. This year, volunteer groups packed food items from potatoes to onions, labeled and packed various canned goods, and sorted and packed a variety of fresh produce to distribute to Northern Illinois Food Bank’s local food pantry partners.
St. Andrew United Methodist Church from Carol Stream was one of those groups. They helped sort fresh produce including bananas, mixed fruit, lettuce, potatoes, and more. Parishioner Mark Manzi said the Food Bank makes it very easy to volunteer, and that’s why they have chosen to put their faith into action by participating in Full on Faith Week both this year and last, in place of their weekly bible study.
For St. Andrew’s, there is a shared excitement and belief that just one individual or group’s effort to fight hunger can be an impactful one that truly makes a difference.
“For us, it’s kind of a faith thing. It is a faith thing. Jesus told us to feed the hungry,” Manzi said.
This year, Full on Faith volunteers that came to our West Suburban Center packed 72,363 meals for our hungry neighbors!
Beyond Full on Faith Week, we are lucky to have a number of faith-based organizations that also volunteer at our centers all year long.
Mary Gorden was at our West Suburban center during Full on Faith Week volunteering with Downers Grove First United Methodist Church because it just happened to be the third Thursday of the month. Mary and other members from her church have been coming to the Food Bank to volunteer on the first and third Thursdays of each month for over ten years. She notes that during that time, she and her parish volunteer group have seen a lot of change, including the Food Bank’s move to its current West Suburban center in Geneva back in 2011.
Some women of the church also said they often bring along their granddaughters to help at the Food Bank as a way to spend time together. Mary chuckled when she said, “They boss the line when they’re here.”
Not only does Downers Grove First United Methodist help to feed our hungry neighbors at the Food Bank, but members of the organization also volunteer at some of our member feeding sites, including People’s Resource Center (PRC) in DuPage County.
While Full on Faith may only be a week long, it’s never too late to get your faith-based or other community organization involved with us here at Northern Illinois Food Bank! We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities for groups of all sizes year-round, including food packing shifts throughout the week and on weekends.
No matter from where you hear the call to serve our hungry neighbors in your life, we encourage you to join our team and our mission to help provide every meal, every day, for every hungry neighbor.
Learn more about upcoming volunteer opportunities and ways to put your faith into action here.