Every September, hunger relief organizations organize events and rally their supporters to raise awareness of the existence of hunger and food insecurity in their communities. Without awareness of a problem, people cannot take action to help solve it! This year, the call to action in Northern Illinois was met with enthusiasm, as nearly 20 Hunger Action Month events took place throughout our service area. From community-wide food drives, four Poverty Simulations, and two Pack-a-thons, to every agency, company, family, and individual who donned the color on ‘Go Orange Day’ to raise awareness, it is clear that the people of Northern Illinois want to ensure their hungry neighbors have access to the food they need, when and where they need it.
The Food Bank’s Pack-a-Thons have been a Hunger Action Month tradition for the past few years, and this year did not disappoint! Held at our Northwest Center (Rockford) and North Suburban Center (Park City), 254 volunteers packed more than 60,000 pounds of food in just 16 hours for our hungry neighbors. Thank you to all the individuals and groups who joined us – what you do matters!
President and CEO Julie Yurko, alongside Kate Maehr, CEO of Greater Chicago Food Depository, were featured on September 1st to kick off Hunger Action Month when they were interviewed for the ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 11am by Terrell Brown and Tracy Butler.
Fifteen restaurants across our service area helped us ‘Pass the Plate’ during Hunger Action Month. They accepted cash donations and introduced Pass the Plate specials – from pizza to orange-sprinkled sugar cookies. Participants included:
Poverty simulations are designed to help participants understand the realities faced by our hungry neighbors. In the simulation, participants assume the roles of different families facing poverty and experience the difficult daily choices being made. The exercise utilizes volunteers who staff various resource tables and play different roles throughout the simulation to provide a realistic environment. The events during Hunger Action Month were hosted by local universities:
The Elgin Cooperative Ministry invited the residents of Elgin to attend their Elgin Hunger Summit at the Gail Borden Public Library to learn about the complex nature of hunger, how the community to currently working to address the issue, and that everyone can get involved.
One of the display cases at Crete Public Library went orange throughout all of Hunger Action Month. The display informed visitors of the issue of hunger in their community and asked them to take action. Thanks to this, the library collected three shopping carts full of food!
The American Eagle ride at Six Flags Great America was lit up orange throughout Hunger Action Month, bringing awareness to their social media followers and passers-by.
Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Executive Women’s Council held a Commuter Blitz food drive at Naperville’s 5th Ave station in the early hours of Go Orange Day. For their inaugural Blitz, they collected over 300 pounds of food and nearly $150 in cash donations.
Every action – big or small – makes a real difference in the lives of the hungry neighbors in our community.