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Illinois Farmers Step Up to Support Local Food Banks Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

– Farmers rise to the challenge in supporting food banks by designating profits from grain donations to feeding hungry neighbors.
– Donation event scheduled for today, March 25, in Sterling, Ill.
– Nearly $20,000 worth of grain already collected from the local ag community

(GENEVA, Ill., March 25, 2020) – Recognizing the challenges that our nation’s food banks face in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of Illinois farmers have sounded a call to action to the Illinois agriculture community for grain donations, with proceeds benefitting Northern Illinois Food Bank, Sauk Valley Food Bank in Sterling, IL, and various others.

Today, local farmers will make additional donations of grain on behalf of the “Food Bank Fund” at Rock River Lumber & Grain’s Sterling Rail location, building on what local farmer and organizer, Nik Jakobs, hopes will be a national movement.

“While the idea of grain donations is nothing new, it’s the fastest way farmers and the agriculture community can make an immediate impact on the food shortages caused by this pandemic,” said Nik Jakobs of Jakobs Bros. Farms. “We are the largest, most productive agricultural country on the planet. We can make a difference.”

“Though the reality of the COVID-19 crisis means we anticipate challenging days and weeks ahead, we’re also beyond blessed to have an extremely passionate community that always answers the call to help our neighbors in need,” said Lee Cheney, Director of Food Procurement at Northern Illinois Food Bank. “This includes our farm producers, which have always been amazing allies in our fight against hunger.”

In the first few days since the call for donations was made, companies across Northern Illinois have started accepting grain donations, including Rock River Lumber & Grain, FS Grain, and Goldstar FS, all of which have dozens of locations across Northern Illinois. Thus far, nearly $20,000 in donations have been committed, which equates to $160,000 in groceries for neighbors in need.

“This is just the start—we hope this catches fire and food banks across our country can benefit during this time of increased need,” Jakobs said.

How to Get Food: For anyone in need of food assistance as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, most of Northern Illinois Food Bank’s 900 partner agencies remain open. Find your nearest food pantry or a listing of upcoming mobile pantry distributions on our website at

How to Give Help: 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 to neighbors. Donate today at www.SolveHungerToday.og/COVIDSupport.

About Northern Illinois Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank, a 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.