Get Groceries & Resources

Find a Local Food Pantry

We work with over 900 food pantries, mobile food truck markets, and soup kitchens who distribute perishable and non perishable foods that you can choose from based on your dietary needs. Find one local to you.

If you have questions about the model of distribution your pantry is offering, or specific dietary needs or restrictions, a pantry would be happy to speak with you — just call ahead of time.

Refer to the contact information to confirm hours of distribution and residency requirements.


      Find a Local Food Pantry

      We work with over 900 food pantries, mobile food truck markets, and soup kitchens who distribute perishable and non perishable foods that you can choose from based on your dietary needs. Find one local to you.

      • Please enter a number from 00000 to 99999.

      If you have questions about the model of distribution your pantry is offering, or specific dietary needs or restrictions, a pantry would be happy to speak with you — just call ahead of time.

       

      Refer to the contact information to confirm hours of distribution and residency requirements.

       

      Get Free & Fresh Groceries Weekly

      Each week our Mobile Markets are distributing free and fresh groceries to neighbors throughout Northern Illinois. Everyone is welcome. No ID, proof of income, or referral is needed. Check out the calendar below to see if there is a distribution coming to your community this week. Also check out upcoming distributions.

      Both distributions are currently using a drive-thru model. First come, first served.

      • Get Text Updates

        Learn when mobile food pick-up is in your area and about more ways to eat healthy.

        By submitting, you’re allowing us to text you 1–2 times per week.

      Assistance & Programs

      The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the food stamp program, provides extra funds to low-income families to buy groceries. The funds come on the Link Card which looks and swipes like a debit card at most grocery and convenience stores. In the United States, over 45 million people are receiving SNAP benefits and just over 2 million of them live in Illinois. People who receive SNAP benefits can still visit their local food pantry, soup kitchen, or get other food assistance.

      No one should be hungry. We want to ensure that anyone who needs it has free access to the nutritious groceries.

      My Pantry Express is an online food pantry developed and operated by Northern Illinois Food Bank in collaboration with community partners.

      Visit Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Northwest Center and Winnebago Community Market food pantry— 765 Research Parkway, Rockford, IL 61109— and take home a variety of nutritious foods.

      The Senior Grocery Mobile provides an indoor distribution of nutritious food at select low-income senior housing communities. Volunteers also assist seniors in taking the food back to their apartments.

      For More Information

      Our Child Nutrition Programs, including the federal meal programs CACFP and SFSP, provide nutritious meals to kids after school and during the summer, and our BackPack Program gives food-filled backpacks for weekend meals.

      Where We Serve

      Northern Illinois Food Bank serves our neighbors in 13 counties.

       

      We have distribution centers in 4 locations.

      • North Suburban Center – Lake Forest
      • Northwest Center – Rockford
      • West Suburban Center – Geneva
      • South Suburban Center – Joliet

      Groceries & Resources FAQ

      There are two main ways you can search for food near you.

      1. Use the “find food” button at the top of the page.
      2. Check out our Mobile Market calendar for mobile markets coming to your area. 

      A food pantry is a location where people can access food for free. Food pantries access a lot of their food from Northern Illinois Food Bank, as well as, local retailers and donations from individuals, businesses and manufacturers.  There are over 200 food pantry locations throughout our 13 county service area including:

      • Stephenson County
      • Winnebago County
      • Boon County
      • McHenry County
      • Lake County
      • Ogle County
      • DeKalb County
      • Kane County
      • DuPage County
      • Kendall County
      • Will County
      • Grundy County
      • Kankakee County

      Food pantries are brick and mortar buildings typically located in community buildings, churches and/or commercial spaces.

      A mobile market is an actual mobile food truck that arrives on location for short period of time to distribute free food in communities. Mobile markets typically last an hour and a half and provide individuals with common grocery items such as breads, cereals, meat, dairy and fresh produce. Items will vary depending on availability. 

      Pantries receiving food from Northern Illinois Food Bank are able to set
      their own eligibility guidelines. At the majority of food pantries, eligibility
      is based on self-attested need. You do not need to have a referral, and income is not a factor to receive food. At some pantries, you may be asked to provide a form of identification and/or proof of your address; you may also be asked about how many people live with you. We advise calling
      ahead to ask a pantry about any eligibility or documentation requirements they might have.

      You do not need to be receiving other assistance to visit a food pantry. SNAP is an ‘entitlement program’ based on your income eligibility that is not capped at a particular number of participants. While SNAP is based on income, it often only covers the first two weeks of a family’s food needs. We encourage our neighbors in need to utilize SNAP and other community resources to ensure their needs are met.

      We recognize that the link between hunger, homelessness, and unemployment is widely used as an illustration of who may visit a pantry. However, you do not have to be homeless to use food pantry services. In
      fact, many of the people we serve are not homeless.

      While some pantries restrict visits due to the volume of clientele and available food, you are welcome to visit multiple pantries to ensure your needs are met during the month. Pantries do not share who comes to visit, and there is no overall count of the number of agencies any one neighbor might have used in a given month.

      Pantries provide perishable and non perishable foods including: dairy products, fresh fruits & vegetables, baked goods, canned goods, dried goods, and frozen meats. While some pantries distribute these items in a
      pre-packaged form, many of the pantries in Northern Illinois operate a client choice (personal shopping-based) distribution method.

      While some pantries only provide food (often due to the size of their space and staff), many agencies in our network provide a variety of non-food options such as personal items, paper products, and back-to-school supplies. Many pantries also offer services such as continued education, job training, and car seat programs.

      If you require special accommodations please contact your local food pantry to learn more about their services.