Jennifer Nau, Northern Illinois Food Bank,, 630-443-6910 x 139;
Luke Tanen, Chicago Innovation,, 312-988-1516

Northern Illinois Food Bank’s “My Pantry Express” program named a top 100 finalist for 18th annual Chicago Innovation Awards

Chicago, Ill. (October 7, 2019) — Out of 450 nominees, Northern Illinois Food Bank with headquarters in Geneva, Illinois, has been selected as one of the Top 100 Finalists still in the running for the 18th annual Chicago Innovation Awards for its groundbreaking My Pantry Express (MPX) Online Food Pantry program. The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region across all organization sizes, sectors and industries. Nearly 1,500 people will be in attendance to honor the winners when they are announced on October 28th at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

My Pantry Express reduces barriers for food insecure neighbors to receive help. The program offers private online food shopping and local pick-up at convenient locations and times to reach food-insecure individuals not currently accessing the charitable food network. Northern Illinois Food Bank is the first food bank to offer this service. MPX creates simple, easy access to nutritious food at no cost for food insecure neighbors. The program connects the overabundance of food with areas of need, providing an added level of food availability and choice. Seventy-four percent of food-insecure people participating in MPX reported being able to keep up with paying their bills on time and making fewer tough choices. For more information, visit

“The Top 100 Finalists of the Chicago Innovation Awards prove that innovation is surging in the Chicago region,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder of Chicago Innovation. “This year’s nominees generated over $13 billion in new revenues, created over 10,000 new jobs and filed for over 1,000 patents. They are some of the fastest growing organizations in the upper Midwest and we are proud to celebrate them.”

As one of the Top 100 Finalists, Northern Illinois Food Bank received a $2,500 scholarship to attend The Practical Innovator, a day-long executive education course which was held September 26th led by top faculty who teach innovation at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.

Each of the Top 100 Finalists are also in the running for the annual “People’s Choice Award,” selected through online balloting at

Out of the Top 100 Finalists, the judges will select 10 winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, as well as 10 winners of the Up-and-Comer Awards representing innovation in the start-up community, the Social Innovator Award, the Collaboration Award, Corporate Innovator Award and 3 Chicago Neighborhood Award winners, which will showcase innovation occurring in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods. The winners will be invited to ring the Nasdaq Bell in New York City, invited to separate meetings with the Mayor, Governor and Cook County President, and receive widespread media recognition.

About Northern Illinois Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank, a proud member of Feeding America, is a non-profit organization that engages the community to solve hunger in Northern Illinois. Manufacturers, local groceries, corporations, foundations, and individuals come together to donate food and funds, and evaluate and repack food for distribution to more than 900 partner feeding programs – the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than half a million people every year. Northern Illinois Food Bank has centers in Geneva (West Suburban Center), Park City (North Suburban Center) Rockford (Northwest Center), and Joliet (South Suburban Center). Find out how you can volunteer, donate or get involved at, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.