Burr Ridge students help stock food pantry
Kailey Hoel , 14, is a member of Hinsdale South Key Club. Members of the club, and the National Honor Society, hope to collect more than 20,000 pounds of food during the school's annual drive, which starts Nov. 5. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Food pantry shopping list
Canned tuna and chicken
Canned tomato products
Canned chili and non-condensed soups
Canned fruits and vegetables
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Feminine Care Products
Paper and plastic shopping bags
Updated: November 9, 2012 12:22PM
HINSDALE — Burr Ridge students are putting food on the table by putting it on food pantry shelves.
Julie Suarez, coordinator of the HCS Family Services food pantry, said school food drives like the one recently held by a group of Brownies at Gower West Elementary School are helping to fill the pantry’s otherwise sparsely stocked shelves.
“It’s been just trickling in,” Suarez said of much-needed donations to the pantry, located in the Memorial Building in Hinsdale.
The 16 boxes of food recently collected at Gower West were distributed to needy families nearly as quickly as the items could be sorted.
As donations of food have decreased, the need has increased. Last year at this time the pantry was providing food for 75 to 85 families each week.
“We’re serving well over 100 a week now,” Suarez said.
Suarez said she is counting on Hinsdale South High School’s November food drive to help fill the need. Over the 26-year history of the food drive, students at Hinsdale South have gathered more than 500,000 pounds of food.
This year’s communitywide food drive runs through Nov. 9. A semi-trailer will be parked at the school throughout the drive to collect donations from students, teachers and members of the community.
“It should set me up really nice for the month of November,” said Suarez, but there is a long winter ahead and a long line of people in need.
And food isn’t the pantry’s only need. Suarez also needs people to help sort donations.
In addition to substitutes to fill in as needed during the hours when the pantry is open, Suarez needs help stocking and cleaning the pantry on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Drivers are needed to pick up donations from area stores on weekday mornings.
“I’m always in need of volunteers,” said Suarez, who can be reached at (630) 323-2500, Ext. 106.
Those Brownies who helped to fill the pantry’s shelves earlier this month will help fill the need for volunteers, too, when they return to help sort food and to learn about the service the pantry provides.
Jody Collins, a parent and co-leader of the third-grade troop, said the food drive has proven to be an important lesson for her daughter and her fellow Brownies.
“She has become more aware of what people need in the community,” Collins said of her daughter, Erin.
“We talked about wants and needs,” she said, and about how for some, a simple meal can be a luxury.