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28th Annual Hunger Walk benefits food depository’s work with pantries

Wed, Jun 12, 2013

June 29 marks the 28th annual Chicago Hunger Walk, the city’s largest one-day anti-hunger event. Stepping off from Soldier Field, the Hunger Walk is an annual 5K (3.1 miles) event to raise funds and awareness for the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s work in Cook County and its network of 650 agencies (food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters).

In the past five years, the Depository has seen an 84 percent increase in the number of people who need food, according to Bob Dolgan, vice president of communications for the Depository.

The term the Depository uses is “food insecure:” people who are uncertain as to where, when and how they are getting their next meal. One in 6 people in the United States are currently food insecure.

Dolgan cites challenges to getting food, particularly since last year’s drought. “First food prices have gone up, making it harder for people to make ends meet, it costs more to buy groceries, so people need to turn to a pantry,” said Dolgan.

The Food Depository covers the overhead expenses for the event so all funds raised can be divided among agencies to help supplement their budgets or, in some cases, serve as their entire annual budget.

To donate or participate in the walk, just log on to the Hunger Walk’s website at Chicagofoodbanks.org, and select the ‘DONATE TODAY or the ‘SIGN UP’ tab.

St. Columbanus Catholic Church intends to raise $5,000 for its food pantry through the Hunger Walk. According to its website, St. Columbanus serves over 400 families who live in the Park Manor neighborhood between 67th and 75th Streets. Families receive two bags of food per week: one full of dry stables and one full of fresh fruits and vegetables. Since its inception, the pantry has served more than 30,000 families.

Chicago Lights EDSSC (Elam Davies Social Service Center) is an organization of the Fourth Presbyterian Church that provides on wraparound services to complement essential food and housing that helps guests to bridge the gaps around getting housed and staying housed. According to the Chicago Lights website, social services have been provided to more than 6,000 individuals, including a Sunday night hot supper to 150 guests every week. Guests may also receive grocery bags every two months. Chicago Lights has a goal of $2,000 from the Hunger Walk.

Irving Park Community Food Pantry, 3801 N. Keeler Ave. is another Hunger Walk beneficiary, which has met its goal of raising $465 to provide a caring, consistent quality of service and an equitable distribution of available pantry resources to all clients. Funds raised by this team will directly support the Pantry’s efforts to help its neighbors in the 60641 and western half of 60618 ZIP codes with a variety of programs, in addition to its goal of giving all clients a monthly three-day supply of food.

By Sarah Berz,
StreetWise Editorial Intern

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