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Updated May 18, 2020

Temperature Check Protocol (effective May 18): Beginning May 18, all volunteers and visitors to any of the Food Bank’s Centers or distribution sites are required to take their temperature prior to arrival. If temperature screens at or above 100.4, they are required to stay home. Upon arrival, volunteers will sign our Volunteer and Visitor Health Statement.

COVID Statement update (May 13, 2020): On May 13th, Northern Illinois Food Bank learned that two team members tested positive for COVID-19. Our West Suburban Center in Geneva was decontaminated on May 14th. Warehouse operations and volunteer shifts reopened on Monday, May 18th. Read our full statement here.

Our COVID-19 Response

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread globally and throughout the United States, we are taking proactive measures to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers and neighbors as we remain committed to serve our community. Northern Illinois Food Bank has been identified as an essential business as defined by Executive Order 2020-10 pertaining to COVID-19.  

The Food Bank is able to continue our operations and utilize our staff and volunteers to serve our neighbors to the best of our ability every day and especially during this crisis. As developments arise, we will continue to monitor the situation and act in accordance with state and local authorities, CDC recommendations, and guidance from Feeding America.

The Food Bank has been responding to the increased need in our communities since mid-March. You can learn more about our response outlined below, and here are a few highlights from last month:

We are witnessing increased need every day across our service area and will continue to adapt to offer the most resources we can for our neighbors. Our pantries are reporting increases up to 50% and we are seeing increases of even 100% at some of our programs. Visits to our food pantry locator on our website have increased 763%. Nationally more than 30M individuals filed for unemployment in recent weeks and economists are predicting unemployment to remain at 10% for the rest of the year. Our communities need us now more than ever and the support from our partners, donors and volunteers will enable us to serve those who need it now and in the future. _

How to Get Help

Pantries or Distributions

If you or someone you know needs food, you can find your nearest food pantry or program here. We strongly recommend calling before you go to confirm distribution dates/times. At the bottom of this page is a list of agency closures which will be updated regularly.

A list of upcoming mobile pantry distributions can also be found here.

For the communities of DeKalb, North Chicago and Rockford, you may order groceries online to pick-up at a specified location and time through My Pantry Express.

Special Events: Pop-Up Market In Rockford!

Please join us for another drive-thru Pop-Up Market to pick up fresh groceries this Saturday, May 23 from 9 AM-12 PM at the former Circuit City in Rockford!

Anyone in the community who may need a little extra help during this time is welcome. No ID is needed.

When: Saturday, May 23 | 9am – 12pm

Where: Circuit City Parking Lot | 5460 E State St | Rockford, IL 61108

You can learn more about our Pop-Up Markets here.

SNAP

Our SNAP Outreach team is available and continues to assist with SNAP (food stamp) applications and can answer questions in regards to other resources or locating a pantry. Fill out our SNAP Contact Form, or call our hotline at 844-600-7627 to talk with a member of our team or leave a message and a team member will call you back ASAP. 

  • Note: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed on March 18th. If you are currently an ABAWD living in Cook or DuPage Counties, you will not be subject to work requirements to receive SNAP benefits while the state of emergency is in place. If you have questions regarding your case, please contact your DHS office or our SNAP Team at 844-600-7627.

Other Resources

We know visiting a pantry or seeking help can be difficult when you don’t know what to expect. Read about the Myths and Facts about the charitable food network.

Food is just one of many challenges our neighbors are facing. With that in mind, we have developed the Northern Illinois COVID-19 Resource Guide. It has listings of different state-wide and county specific resources available to help during this time.

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How to Give Help

Donate

The economic impact of COVID-19 is drastically increasing rates of food insecurity in our community. Closures of businesses and schools, social distancing, and self-quarantines may affect many of our neighbors, particularly the most vulnerable: older adults, health-compromised individuals, and hourly workers.

While all support is greatly appreciated, financial donations of any size will help support the Food Bank’s operations during this time of increased need. Every $1 donated helps provide $8 in groceries for our neighbors. Make a gift online now.

If you would like to make a donation by mail you may still send your gift to 273 Dearborn Court, Geneva, IL, 60134 as our office remains open. Please note that the deposits of checks and mailing of acknowledgement letters may be delayed during this time.

In order to protect the health and well-being of our staff and volunteers, and to keep the grocery stores stocked as much as possible during this time, we have suspended accepting community food donations to our Centers at this time. If you have food that you would still like to donate to our network, we encourage you to donate directly to your local pantry. Please visit our Pantry Locator to find your closest pantry and connect with them to see what needs they may have at this time.

Foodie 5K

Our June 6th Foodie 5K presented by Kellogg’s has changed from Independence Grove in Libertyville to a virtual event! We encourage anyone to register for this virtual event – you will still receive incentives for fundraising and a swag bag, complete with t-shirt (register by May 22nd) and finisher medal. Participants can still submit their time for award medals and use hashtag #foodie5k to share selfies as you participant in whichever location you choose.  Visit www.SolveHungerToday.org/Foodie5k to register or donate to a participant.

Volunteer

Northern Illinois Food Bank has been identified as an essential business and is able to continue our operations during the “Shelter in Place” order for Illinois. Our volunteer workforce is also exempt from this order and are more important than ever to help pack and distribute food.

The Food Bank has made modifications to our shifts at all of our Centers to ensure we are following the CDC recommendations and practice social distancing. All volunteers beginning on March 23rd will be asked to sign our Volunteer & Visitor Health Statement upon arrival to our Center or at an offsite distribution. We are requiring all volunteers bring and wear a mask when volunteering at a Center or distribution site. If needed the Food Bank is providing cloth masks.

Update May 18th: Beginning on May 18th, all volunteers and visitors to a Food Bank Center or distribution site are required to take their temperature prior to arrival. If temperature screens at 100.4 or higher they are required to stay home. 

We have modified the maximum number of volunteers we can accommodate per shift to ensure we can practice social distancing. You may view openings on our calendar or join our wait list, as we anticipate having a greater need for volunteers in the coming weeks and months as we continue our response to this crisis. In the meantime, our agency network needs volunteer support as well. We encourage you to search by zip code and contact the location directly to inquire about available volunteer opportunities.

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Phase Two and Three Response (April 1 to June 6)

  • Continue our regular delivery of nutritious food to our agencies, of which 90% remain open at this time, but may be distributing boxes or bags to avoid neighbors entering the pantry. To support our network of food pantries and other feeding programs, we are distributing $250,000 in funding to our network as food credits and grants.
  • Serve our agencies that are unable to source and pack boxes for distribution by providing 2,500 shelf-stable emergency boxes a week. We will prioritize distribution of these boxes to identified areas of high need based on pantry closures.
  • Our Winnebago Community Market team in Rockford will provide more than 1,300 boxes per week to our neighbors, including shelf-stable food, milk, meat and protein.
  • Our SNAP Outreach Team of 10 staff and volunteers is fielding calls from our SNAP hotline and online requests 7 days a week. We are expanding our team by 50% to add additional support on evenings and weekends.
  • We have increased our typical distribution of 1,000 shelf-stable boxes monthly to our senior neighbors through our Senior Box Program to 1,350 to meet the increased need seen in our senior and home-bound populations.
  • We are expanding the My Pantry Express program by adding distribution times and locations, and are planning to provide 1,200 boxes per week of shelf-stable product as well as milk, meat and protein.
  • We launched Pop-Up Markets in April to distribute additional food to neighbors in need in a drive-thru format. Locations, number of families served and food available varies, but we are serving an average 77,000 pounds to 1,700 households weekly.
  • We are continuing our work with 19 child meal sites with an estimated 4,000 meals served daily. We are also distributing 1,400 emergency boxes to other sites weekly.
  • We are planning to have up to 18 Mobile Pantry distributions per week that will serve 200-250 families each.
  • We have formed an Emergency Food Team to help identify the most efficient strategies around food sourcing and distribution to our neighbors in need. Despite challenges across the supply chain, this team remains focused on investigating every possible solution to meet the rising demand across our communities.

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Local Resources

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Food Bank Contacts

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Agency Closures