Chicago-area food pantries see demand surge despite lack of donations – NBC Chicago

Chicago-area food pantries are seeing increased demand and dwindling donations as inflation and supply chain issues drive the cost of food skyrocketing, food bank and community leaders say. pantry.

The Geneva-based Northern Illinois Food Bank said it serves 400,000 people a month and has seen demand jump 30% from a year ago.

“We’re paying an average of fifteen cents more per pound than we were just a year ago,” said President and CEO Julie Yurko. “Our budget for purchased food has also tripled as we have to bring in more food due to a drop in donations coming in.”

Meanwhile, West Suburban Community Pantry in Woodridge said it lost 2,000 pounds of food earlier this week after a power outage damaged its freezer and refrigeration units.

“Honestly, this is the worst possible time because our demand has increased dramatically. We are serving about 40% more people right now, 40% more families, than just a month ago due to the ‘food and gas prices increase,’ said chief executive Laura Coyle.

West Suburban Community Pantry will be closed to shoppers until next Thursday while $30,000 worth of repairs are made.

“We want to make sure that when they use their precious resources, we can give them everything they need and we just can’t do that right now,” Coyle said. “It was not responsible for us to stay open.”

The West Suburban Community Pantry said its Virtual Food pantry continues to offer the ability to order groceries online and pick them up at a number of locations in the area. You can find out more at www.virtualfoodpantry.net.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank said if you need help with food, go to www.solvehungertoday.org.

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