In 1999, the founding committee, led by Tom Norton (representing both St. Isidore Parish & Resurrection Catholic Church) and Eric Dawson (then pastor of Lutheran Church of the Master) came together to form Northwest DuPage Walk-In Ministries to better address the need of food insecurity in the community. Their vision was to join the three existing pantries in a collaborative effort to better serve our neighbors– churches and the community coming together to provide services close to home.
They envisioned a more efficient model where member churches could refer those in need to our sites, providing more meaningful support for their members in need. By providing centralized support, our church partners are assured that their parishioners are served with dignity and grace, at the same time freeing up pastors and leadership to focus on their ministries and better serve their congregations as a whole.
Eighteen years later that vision continues to grow. Now operating under the name Neighborhood Food Pantries, we work with 31 area churches to operate 7 pantries throughout Northwest DuPage county. Local businesses and organizations provide tremendous support for our mission. Our food recovery partners provide fresh food and produce to our guests; our food collection partners hold local food drives for our pantries; and our corporate and organization partners and individual donors provide financial support, allowing us to purchase items from Northern Illinois Food Bank and to support our pantry infrastructure .
There are more than 68,000 people in DuPage county who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many are ‘on the bubble’, having to choose between paying the rent or feeding their families. Oftentimes we fill a one-time need for a family – allowing them to fix a car or cover unexpected medical expenses and still put food on the table.
Our locally operated pantries allow us to serve our guests in their neighborhood, close to where they live. Our pantry coordinators and volunteers get to know our guests, providing a personal touch and creating a sense of community. A number of our pantry guests return to our pantries to volunteer– giving back to those who support them.
Thank you to all who support our mission, allowing us to provide more than 1,900,000 million meals in 2016 to more than 15,000 people annually in our area who visit our pantries more than 25,000 times per year.