Who We Serve
Our Mission: Leading the northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships. Northern Illinois Food Bank is the source of nutritious food, innovative feeding programs, and hope for more than 71,000 people each week. As a nonprofit organization with a goal of solving hunger in our 13-county service area, we rely on community partners the local food pantries and feeding programs, food manufacturers and retailers, companies, foundations and individuals who join with us in our vision for no one to be hungry in Northern Illinois. We invite you to join us, through volunteering at one of our three centers (West Suburban Center in Geneva; North Suburban Center in Park City; Northwest Center in Rockford), becoming a financial or food donor, helping us spread the word about hunger in our community, and participating in our Facebook and Twitter conversations. Northern Illinois Food Bank is a member of Feeding America.
Northern Illinois Food Bank began as a dream of Sister Rosemarie Burian, who awoke one morning in 1982 with an idea to open a center for the poor in DuPage County. From that idea, Bethlehem Center was born. Sister Rosemarie distributed the first food in May 1983. In its first full year of operation, 64,000 pounds of food were distributed through 80 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Over the last 30 years, the Food Bank’s name has changed, its address has changed, and staff has changed; but the one thing that has remained consistent is our commitment to feeding our hungry neighbors. Watch the transformation below or learn more in our timeline.
Northern Illinois Food Bank provides food through a network of 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth and senior centers, and has a number of other direct distribution programs to assist hungry neighbors. The Food Bank acquires donated food directly from manufacturers, as well as retail stores through our Food Recovery and Direct Connect programs. Our Child Nutrition Programs, including the federal feeding programs CACFP and SFSP, provide nutritious meals to kids after school and during the summer, and our BackPack Program gives food-filled backpacks for weekend meals. The Food Bank has two Mobile Pantry trucks which act as “traveling food pantries” to distribute perishable and non-perishable food directly to hungry neighbors. To serve our seniors in need we partner with local housing units for our Senior Food Program to provide monthly boxes of non-perishable food selected with the dietary needs of seniors in mind. Northern Illinois Food Bank’s SNAP Outreach Team helps neighbors apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamps. Every holiday season we distribute Holiday Meal Boxes complete with turkey and all the trimmings for a traditional meal.
Northern Illinois Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, has received Charity Navigator’s 4-Star rating for 11 consecutive years for its fiscal responsibility. Ninety-seven percent of the Food Bank’s resources go to programs that feed the hungry. The Food Bank can stretch every $1 donated into $8 worth of groceries! Read our annual reports for more information on our successes and partnerships serving the Northern Illinois community.