Donations for the St Nicholas Food Pantry are always gratefully accepted. We’re helping families but the problem of food insecurity is growing and growing.
Northwest suburban food pantry operators say the typical summer slowdown in donations is more serious this year because of an increase in demand.
Elk Grove Township, which operates a food pantry in Arlington Heights, for example, usually serves 55 families a month on average. They served 94 families last month.
"I’m digging and scratching for food," said Nanci Vanderweel, supervisor of Elk Grove Township. "It has become my way of life. I’m doing everything but stealing to get food in here."
While demand has been high for at least three years, people who run northwest suburban food pantries said they are having a harder time this summer, as food drives have slowed. While many can still purchase food from local depositories, they rely on drives to be able to operate within already tight budgets.
Food pantry representatives said they usually get a slew of donations around the holidays and through the winter, but donations dry up by the end of spring, partially because some food drives are run by schools.
Sandy Wolf, director of welfare services at Schaumburg Township, said fewer donations and food drives over the summer are expected, but the situation is getting progressively worse.