In 2010, community leaders affiliated with various businesses, churches, organizations and social services met to discuss growing food insecurity in the greater Elgin area. As a result of those discussions, Food For Greater Elgin was formed in January of 2011. For the next eight months, Food For Greater Elgin partnered with Northern Illinois Food Bank and School District U-46 in hosting 16 Mobile Pantries, which are traveling food pantries. In September of 2011, Food For Greater Elgin leased a 9400 sq. ft. warehouse /office complex in Elgin and held its first client choice food distribution on November 12, 2011
With just 3 years at our present facility, Food For Greater Elgin is providing food assistance to 1100 families each month, feeding 5000 individuals in those households, of whom nearly half are children. 13% of the families coming each month are new. We anticipate monthly numbers to spike at 1500 families in 2014, given the current state of our economy. Food For Greater is now ranked in the top ten largest food pantries associated with Northern Illinois Food Bank in a 13-county wide area. This ranking is based on service numbers and pounds.
Food For Greater Elgin adheres to the Client Choice distribution model which offers clients a choice of food items rather than pre-bagged groceries. Client, equipped with grocery carts, choose from a variety of product categories including shelf-stable, frozen meat, produce, and dairy. Volunteers assist clients during food distributions. Client Choice has a proven record of lower food waste and preserves the dignity of clients.
Full Service Food Pantry
Clients have access to food through 5 weekly client choice food distributions, including evenings and weekend shifts. Clients may receive food once a month, but do not have to wait 30 days to return. Each visit provides 7 days of food, including meat, produce, dairy, and shelf-stable products.
Cost Effective Food Acquisition
For $5.00, Food For Greater Elgin can acquire enough food to feed a family for 7 days – a full grocery cart of food. We utilize Northern Illinois Food Bank as our main food resource and also pickup additional products at Elgin Larkin Jewel, Elgin Wal-mart, South Elgin Caputo’s, Fresh Market, Aldi, and Sam’s Club. Our refrigerated truck provides food safe transportation for perishable food.