Libertyville pantry aids hundreds
Fremont Township Supervisor Pete Tekampe says the supply of food at the township's food pantry is about a third of what it should be. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
How often do you contribute to your local food pantry?
LIBERTYVILLE — On any given Tuesday, hundreds of people flock to the local food pantry to put food on their tables.
This year so far, 350 families have registered to use the Libertyville Township Food Pantry, with an average of between 70 and 80 families coming in each Tuesday when the doors are open, said Linda Blatnik, social worker and pantry coordinator.
“It’s been a steady increase since 2009, since the economy took a turn,” Blatnik said. “Our numbers have continued to go up. There are seniors, families — just a mix of people.”
With September being National Hunger Awareness Month, more attention is being paid to keeping pantry shelves filled and to the increasing number of families in need of food. A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture released this month shows an increasing number of people need help obtaining food.
The study found that last year, 14.9 percent, or 17.9 million households nationwide, did not have consistent access to food. That’s an increase from 11.1 percent, or 13 million households, five years ago. Of the current families needing help with food, 36 percent have one or more people working, according to Feeding America, a nonprofit organization that works to ease hunger in America through food banks across the country.
Pantries rely on donations, with area churches and high schools sponsoring food drives to keep up with the need, Blatnick said. And this month, the Northern Illinois Food Bank and Jewel Food Stores have teamed up to collect donations to recognize National Hunger Awareness Month. The Jewel in Libertyville picked the township’s food pantry to receive donations made at that store, she said.
“People have been very generous to us,” Blatnick said.
The Libertyville Township pantry serves residents in Libertyville and portions of Mundelein, Waukegan, Vernon Hills, Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, North Chicago, Green Oaks and Mettawa. Food pantry clients can come to the pantry — located at the township offices at 359 Merrill Court in Libertyville — between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesdays, or by appointment.
For an appointment, call (847) 362-5900. Clients must show proof of township residency and proof of how many people are in the family, Blatnik said
At the Fremont Township Food Pantry, the number of people in each family served has increased, raising the need for food, said Township Supervisor Pete Tekampe.
“The big need has been that it’s gone from couples coming in to bigger families,” Tekampe said. “We’re getting five, six and seven people in a family.”
Serving much of Mundelein and parts of Libertyville, Grayslake, Wauconda, Round Lake, Round Lake Beach, Long Grove and Hawthorn Woods, the Fremont Township pantry serves between 20 and 25 families regularly, he said, with 28 families served last month.
And help in keeping the pantry’s shelves filled is needed, he said.
“Donations are down right now,” Tekampe said. “People have kids going back to school — they have other needs they have to take care of.
“People drop off food here and we have food drives,” he added. “We depend on the community.”
A fund set up at the township allows people to donate money, as well, he said, adding, “Then when the need is there, we can go buy something.”
The Fremont Township pantry is located at the township office at 22376 Erhart Road in Mundelein. To make an appointment to use the pantry, or to make a donation, call (847) 223-2847.