One in eight people in northern Illinois faces hunger, and there is no better time to do something about it, because September is Hunger Action Month.
All month long, Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva and more than 200 Feeding America food banks across the country are hosting awareness campaigns and events to bring attention to and take action for the cause of hunger. Northern Illinois Food Bank provides food to more than 60,000 hungry neighbors each week through a network of feeding programs in 13 counties.
Wear an orange tie or shirt to work in order to start up a conversation, replace your front porch light with an orange bulb, ask your business to post a message on their marquee, donate food and funds at Jewel-Osco stores or talk with friends about the fact that one in eight of our neighbors does not have enough to eat.
These are ways that you can get involved in spreading the word about hunger and the work Northern Illinois Food Bank and its network partners are doing to feed our hungry neighbors.
“During Hunger Action Month, we encourage everyone to educate themselves and their neighbors on the issue of hunger and to get more involved in their community to help those in need, “ said Pete Schaefer, president and CEO, Northern Illinois Food Bank. “It’s all about community involvement. When neighbors come together to help, there is no end to what can be accomplished.”
Local businesses have also teamed up with the food bank to promote Hunger Action Month. The Kane County Cougars will host a virtual food drive and for every $10 donated online, a reserved seat ticket voucher will be given for the Sept. 1, 2, or 3 games; Northern Illinois University will hold a food drive during their first home football game on Sept. 8; Hotel Arista in Naperville will light up orange for the month; and California Pizza Kitchen, CityGate Grille, Colonial Cafe & Ice Cream, Francesca’s By The River, Lou Malnati’s, Nancy’s Pizza and Sugar Toad restaurants have joined the “Dine Out for Hunger” campaign.
For a complete list of Hunger Action Month events and other ways to get involved, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org.
Meijer Will Double Customers' Gifts
Meijer will double match every customer’s $10 Simply Give donation made Sept. 2-8 in support of Hunger Action Month. This initiative, called Simply Give Week, is being launched to emphasize the retailer’s continued commitment to help fight hunger in the Midwest.
The Simply Give Week double match is part of a $1 million donation to the retailer’s 2012 Simply Give program, which aims to replenish the shelves of nearly 200 food pantries in its five-state region each campaign.
“Hunger is a problem that continues to grow in all of our communities,” co-Chairman Hank Meijer announced. “This contribution shows our commitment to hunger relief in the Midwest and applauds the continued generosity our customers and team members have shown their neighbors.”
The Simply Give program encourages customers to purchase $10 Meijer Food Pantry Donation Cards, which are then converted into Meijer gift cards and given to the local food pantry selected by the store.
Throughout Simply Give Week, each customer’s donation will stretch even farther: For every $10 donation card purchase, Meijer will give $20 to the program, resulting in a total $30 donation.
Traditionally, Meijer seeds each Simply Give campaign with $100,000 in grocery gift cards that are divided among all the participating food pantries. This year’s $1 million donation alone equates to 6 million meals, and will bring the program’s total contributions to more than $4 million — or an estimated 24 million meals — since it debuted in November 2008.
The Simply Give program runs three times a year for about 10 weeks; the fall 2012 campaign runs through Oct. 6.
Also in September, Meijer plans to once again expand its food rescue program with the addition of eight food banks in the Midwest. Participating food banks and pantries pick up fresh food — meat, cheese and select deli and bakery items — from their local Meijer store two to three days per week. An estimated 2,400 products are available to donate to food banks.
Nearly 700,000 pounds of food, which accounts for more than 527,700 meals, were donated by Meijer in 2011 to local food banks.
The food rescue initiative helps increase the total tonnage of food delivered to local food banks while utilizing products that would not have been available in the past. Meijer began its food rescue program in 2008 with food banks picking up fresh food from 29 Meijer stores in southeast Michigan. It since has grown with an estimated 80 percent of Meijer stores partnering with a food bank on food rescue, and will continue to expand companywide next year, said Janet Emerson, executive vice president of operations for Meijer.
About Northern Illinois Food Bank
Northern Illinois Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, is a nonprofit organization that engages the community in a commitment to feed our hungry neighbors. Across 13 counties, food manufacturers, local groceries, corporations, foundations, and individuals come together to donate food and funds, and evaluate and repack food for distribution to more than 700 network partners – the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than 60,000 hungry neighbors each week. That commitment provided 33.3 million meals last year to those in need. Northern Illinois Food Bank has centers in Geneva (West Suburban Center), Park City (North Suburban Center) and Loves Park (Northwest Center), and an office in Joliet (South Suburban Office). Find out how you can Volunteer – Donate – Get Involved at www.SolveHungerToday.org or follow us on Facebook.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 199 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. As a pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, Meijer stores have evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive electronics departments, garden centers and apparel offerings. Additional information on Meijer and the ability to shop for more can be found at www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer or become a fan atwww.facebook.com/meijer.