As we look back on 2017, our commitment to providing enough meals for our neighbors in need in Northern Illinois grows even stronger. It is our belief that every single person not only needs but deserves access to enough food that is both nutritious and desirable.
In total, we served 65.5 million meals last year to our neighbors in need in the suburbs of Chicago and rural communities across Northern Illinois. While every community is important, we are most focused on increasing meal distribution to our underserved, highest-need communities. We’ve piloted and expanded key programs to ensure that all of our kids, seniors, and families have every meal needed, every day.
This is only possible because of our generous donors and volunteers – what you do matters!
This past year, we’ve also focused on building healthy communities. Here are a few ways we are helping our neighbors in need live healthier lives:
We piloted the Senior Grocery Market at our Northwest Center in Rockford, where seniors have the opportunity to shop at the Food Bank twice a month to receive fresh produce, nutritious proteins, milk, eggs, cereal, and more – good food that is highly desired. It’s a privilege and honor to serve 300 seniors during every market. The need is there and the Senior Grocery Market is here to stay so we can help seniors live healthier lives.
Our 20 week Nutrition Education Program teaches kids healthy eating habits, engages them in food preparation, and gives them the opportunity to try foods that they may have not had the courage to try in the past. The program covers all of the food groups – vegetables, fruits, proteins, dairy, and grains.
We serve kids every day, year round through our After School, BackPack, and Summer Meal Site programs. We were awarded the USDA’s highest honor – the Golden Beet Award – as one of the nation’s top 10 leading Summer Meal Program sponsors with the highest quality food.
This year, our Diabetes Prevention Program moved from a pilot to a permanent program, teaching participants that – through mindful eating, joyful movement, and stress relief – they can lead healthier lives.
Encouraged by the growth of this program, we launched our Healthy Harvest Produce Box Program in partnership with Kishwaukee Hospital and Northwestern Medicine. This program gives medical professionals the opportunity to screen patients for food insecurity (those at risk for missing meals) and intervene with access to produce, resources, and support. Patients receive the healthy food they need right onsite – a 25 pound box that the Food Bank provides, filled with assorted fresh fruits and vegetables.
2017 has been a year of continued growth with the goal of not only providing enough meals to our neighbors, but also transforming our communities.
We could not be more grateful for the steadfast support you have provided. When we come together, we are able to share, provide, and learn as we build strong, vibrant, loving communities in which everyone is exceptionally cared for and welcomed. As we do that, we’re working toward our ultimate goal: solving hunger in Northern Illinois. For that, we can all be proud.
Together, we are solving hunger!
View all 2017 highlights and full details in our Annual Report