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Wednesday, June 7, 2023 12:35AM
RICH TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WLS) — A south suburban food pantry is calling on businesses and individuals to step up and help feed families in need.
The Rich Township Food Pantry has seen an increase in the number of people who need help putting food on their tables. Hundreds of people lined up at the food pantry for help with groceries on Tuesday. South suburban resident Daniel Young was one of them.
“It helps spread the budget. I’m on a fixed income,” Young said.
On Tuesday, officials at the facility sounded the alarm amid concerns that the roughly 1,500 families they assist each week could nearly double following the recent ending of the federal government’s pandemic emergency food benefit program.
“We don’t turn anybody back, so I’m starting to see the lines and the number increase. So, just want to be better prepared,” said Rich Township Supervisor Calvin Jordan.
According to the Illinois Department of Human Services, some 2 million people in the state have been impacted.
“I don’t work every day, but I do work to supplement my income because I have no other choice. I gotta eat. I got to pay my bills,” said south suburban resident Janet Cobb.
The drive-thru site is open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and on some Fridays.
The pantry serves nearly a dozen communities, and is one of about six pantries in the southland area. It also delivers provisions to those unable to get to the pantry.
Here there’s fresh meat, eggs, milk, fruits, bread and vegetables. It’s all free and being funded by the Northern Illinois Food Depository. Some big box and local grocery stores and private donors are being asked to give more.
“Whenever you get rid of benefits and kind of leave people out to dry, what do they do next? How do they cope?” said Cliff Taylor, a local businessman and donor.
Organizers are gearing up for the summer programs for kids while they increase their fundraising efforts. They are also bracing for what they say will surely be an increase in need.
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