by Susan O’Neill
Sugar Groveâ€”The shelves at the Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove are not empty, but they are a lot less full than they were just a few weeks ago.
When the food pantry opened in Sugar Grove three months ago, it was serving 11 families. According to Sugar Grove resident and Village Board member Melisa Taylor, 67 families are currently obtaining food from the Sugar Grove location. Taylor came up with the idea for a local food pantry.
â€œChurches are letting their members know,â€ Taylor said. â€œThey’re learning more about the food pantry.â€
In addition to more families in need coming to receive food, donations have fallen off somewhat since the holidays, she said.
â€œI’m so grateful for what people have already done, but this is a year-round thing,â€ she said. â€œPeople are still losing their jobs. Every week, there are new people.â€
Taylor said that the people who show up at the pantry, located in the rear of Engineering Enterprises, Inc. in Sugar Grove, would rather not have to be there. She recalled a family who came last week, where the parents had been out of work for six months to a year.
â€œThey’ve used all their resources and savings, and now they’re officially in trouble,â€ she said. â€œThey’ve been trying to stand on their own two feet, and now they need help.â€
Fellow Sugar Grove resident Pat Graceffa had some advice for people who think that in order to help, they have to give a lot. Thinking in this way makes it seem so overwhelming, that they might end up not helping at all, she said.
â€œThings are very tough for everyone, so please only help if you are able to, but all donations of even a can of soup are truly helpful and appreciated more than you know,â€ she said.
Taylor said that donations of money can go a long way, as well. The food pantry purchases items such as milk, butter and eggs from the Sugar Grove Jewel Food Store for less than a regular customer would pay. In addition, food pantry volunteers can purchase food at a significant discount from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
According to its website, the Northern Illinois Food Bank, a non-profit, 501(c)(3), chartered by the state of Illinois to provide food to those in need, acquires donated food and financial support from retailers, manufacturers, corporations, community resources, and individuals. NIFB distributes the food to hungry people through a network of more than 520 non-profit food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other food assistance sites in 13 northern Illinois counties.
â€œAs a member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, we can purchase needed food items at greatly reduced rates,â€ Taylor said. â€œFor example, $2 at the food bank buys eight boxes of name brand cereal. Make your donation go further and let us do the shopping.â€
Donation drop-off locations
â€¢ Sugar Grove Animal Hospital
â€¢ Green Acre Cleaners
â€¢ Sugar Grove Village Hall
â€¢ Sugar Grove Library
â€¢ Old Second Bank
â€¢ Sugar Grove Remax
â€¢ Aurora Candlewood Suites
â€¢ Kaneland McDole
â€¢ Sugar Grove United
â€¢ Spaghetti sauce
â€¢ Pancake mix and syrup
â€¢ Boxed dinner mixes
â€¢ Canned fruits
â€¢ Canned veggies
â€¢ Breakfast cereals
â€¢ Baby food
â€¢ Sugar and flour
â€¢ Soups and stews
Personal care, household items
â€¢Â Laundry detergent
â€¢Â Dish soap, cleansers
â€¢Â Baggies, garbage bags
â€¢Â Diapers (infant, adult)
â€¢Â Shampoo, conditioner
â€¢Â Soap, other toiletries
â€¢Â Tissues, toilet paper
â€¢Â Feminine products
Beloved pets need a home and food too, so pet food donations are also appreciated.
You may mail your tax-deductible donation to Between Friends Food Pantry of Sugar Grove, P.O. Box 509, Sugar Grove, IL 60554.
For more information, please call (630) 466-0345 or visit www.sugargrovefoodpantry.org.
The food pantry is located in the back of Engineering Enterprises, Inc., at 52 Wheeler Road in Sugar Grove.