In the News

Jane Macdonald discusses the Hunger Vital Sign on FOX 32 Chicago

Duncan Ward Talks about Veterans' Services on FOX 32 Chicago

Celebrating Make a Difference Day on "You & Me This Morning"

Illinois Homes Covers "Daily Miracles" at Loaves & Fishes

Loaves & Fishes recently had the opportunity to speak with Illinois Homes about our mission and the poverty and food insecurity in our community.

At its core, Loaves & Fishes is a a community organization that serves thousands of families every month in DuPage County, Illinois. Established in 1984, it has grown into an empowerment organization with the goal of ending hunger. The people at Loaves & Fishes understand that temporary measures are just that, temporary, and the goal is to help low-income families sustain themselves with dignity.

With programs like Pathways to Empowerment, Director of External Relations Matthew Chicola, says, "We understand that, to eliminate hunger, we must help client families overcome barriers, such as unemployment, debt and health problems. In collaboration with local organizations, we are able to provide job search support, public benefit assistance, computer classes, nutrition education, English as a Second Language classes, legal counseling, income tax assistance, mental health counseling, financial literacy and Veterans' benefit assistance in addition to our grocery assistance program."

Continue reading by clicking here.

New Food Recovery Partnership Featured on NCTV17

Loaves & Fishes and Snap Kitchen are teaming up to reduce hunger and food waste in the suburbs, and NCTV17's Alyssa Bochenek was here to get the story.

National Poverty in America Awareness Month on NBC

Megan Selck, Interim President & CEO, had an opportunity to discuss suburban poverty on NBC.

Fighting Hunger in the Suburbs

It's Hunger Action Month, and the media has been covering this emerging issue around the country. Loaves & Fishes President & CEO Charles McLimans was interviewed on WGN's CLTV. Click here for the video. He was also interviewed on WDCB, and the interview can be found here.

Longwood and Loaves & Fishes celebrate their 25 year partnership

Hunger in DuPage

NNX - Hunger from NCTV17 on Vimeo.

Food Pantries Brace for Effects of Food Stamp Cuts

from Philanthropy News Digest:

The 5 percent reduction in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — the formal name of the food stamp program — means that a family of four receiving assistance through the program will see that assistance fall from $668 a month to $632, or only $1.40 per meal per person, starting November 1.

"This cut in benefits is precisely the opposite course our nation should be taking to help struggling children and their families right now," said the foundation's president and CEO, Sterling K. Speirn. "Our road to economic recovery is long, and we must ensure that everyone has access to good food. Indeed, healthy families are good for the economy."

Moreover, at a time when record numbers of people need government assistance to put food on the table, charities cannot fill the gap that deeper cuts would create, Kate Maehr, CEO and executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, told NPR. "Food pantries and soup kitchens all across this community are already stretched," said Maehr."It's getting more and more difficult for us to find quality food to distribute to food pantries and soup kitchens."

Read the full article here.

Bumper Crop

from The Naperville Sun:

Community gardens yield tons for food pantry

It’s been a good year for urban farming in downtown Naperville.

A crew of volunteers — four dozen adults, assisted by three dozen tots enrolled in the Naperville Park District’s preschool program — descended Oct. 15 and 16 on the community garden plots on West Street to reap an abundant late-season harvest for donation to the low-income families served by the Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry.

Credit: Submitted to The Naperville SunA record 1,817 pounds of vegetables were brought in from the garden plots over the two days. Augmented by donated vegetables from others who rent the park district’s rectangular plots for growing vegetables during the warm season, the benevolent bounty came to 4,252 for the season, an increase of more than 7 percent over the 2012 harvest for the pantry.

Loaves & Fishes staff members and clients are grateful for the produce donated to the hunger relief agency, which distributes more than 30 tons of groceries every week.

CROP Walk Coverage

Crop Walk from NCTV17 on Vimeo.

Soup's On! Coverage

Face of US Poverty

from The Christian Science Monitor:
Suburbs are increasingly becoming the address of America's poor. Suburban poverty across the country grew 53 percent between 2000 and 2010, more than twice the rate of urban poverty, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution. For the first time, more poor people live in the suburbs than in cities.

This rise in suburban poverty reflects long-term demographic shifts – America is more than ever a suburban nation – and economic changes that have widened the gap between rich and poor and have made it more difficult for families to secure a place in the middle class. The rise is also happening as city centers across the country are booming, attracting the young, wealthy, and well educated and in some cases displacing poorer residents.

The expense of suburban life often comes as a shock to poor and low-income people, says Jane Macdonald, director of client engagement at Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville, Ill. "If you're not factoring in the cost of a car, the cost of gas, those kinds of things, I think you can underestimate the kind of job you might need to support your family," she says.

Read the full article here.

Credit: Melanie Stetson Freeman, The Christian Science Monitor

Loaves & Fishes Featured in NBC Nightly News Story

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hunger Relief Authority Speaks at Loaves & Fishes

from Naperville Sun:
“I firmly believe ... that children are the primary engine for economic growth in our society,” [Dr. John Cook] said. “And if they are not able to remain nourished, the engine falters.”

A leading authority on hunger relief, Cook spoke to board members and staff at the Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville Monday evening, pressing the case that the societal costs of failing to feed people sufficiently, especially children, are far greater than most Americans realize.

Cook said researchers have found that greater focus on early childhood development is by far the most effective approach, likening the idea to keeping a hinge well oiled, as opposed to dealing with a rusty one.

“It would be much, much less expensive (to) avoid the problem to begin with,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Credit: Jon Cunningham, Sun-Times Media

A Visit from VNA Health Care

Our newest partners at VNA Health Care in Aurora provided free health assessments at Loaves & Fishes. We look forward to partnering with them further as we seek to impact our neighbor's well-being even more! Thanks to Naperville Community Television for covering this story.

Packs4Kids Kicks Off at Loaves & Fishes!

Like a healthy diet, school supplies are essential for children to excel in the classroom. Loaves & Fishes thanks the community, which has helped raise funds and supplies to help prepare students for the new school year. Check out this clip, courtesy of Naperville Community Television that stopped by this morning to cover this great story!

Rep. Bill Foster Volunteers at L&F

Loaves & Fishes was honored to welcome Congressman Bill Foster of the Illinois 11th District on Saturday, July 13th. Rep. Foster volunteered in the distribution center, working directly with Loaves & Fishes clients.

Naperville Food Pantry Gets Donation to Boost Programs

from Daily Herald:
"We chose to support Loaves & Fishes specifically because they provide food and support to local families in an efficient and dignified manner," Gina Shugar said. "They have developed programs that empower clients to change a bad situation."

Credit: Mark Black, Daily Herald

Greg and Gina Shugar of Naperville made [a $100,000] donation when they realized roughly half of the people Loaves & Fishes helps feed are younger than 18. If it was all put toward one program, the money could provide milk for a year for 2,000 families with kids; supplemental nutrition for a year to 476 families with school-aged kids; diapers and baby food for a year for 278 infants; or food from the summer nutrition program for 833 school-aged kids.

Pantry shoppers such as Aurora Heredia of West Chicago say the granola bars, milk, fruit and other foods they choose for themselves and their children fill a vital need. "A lot of times when I come, I get a whole bunch of fruit and that helps a lot," said Heredia, whose children are 12, 9, 5 and 3.

Read the full article here.

Day Without Hunger

From Bill Mego, The Naperville Sun, Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's a cold, cruel world, right? It's the kind of world where, when things go wrong and you get laid off, or get sick, or have to take time off to care for someone, you're essentially on your own. You have nowhere to turn because there's not a soul in the world who cares what happens to you. Right?

Not entirely. In fact, there are people who care, who understand the stress, the frustration and, yes, the embarrassment of being a little down on your luck. Maybe they've been there, maybe they know we all have times like that sooner or later, or maybe they're just kind people who have lived long enough to understand a little about the way life works. It doesn't matter. There is a place you can go.

They can't do everything, but they can help you deal with what can be the confusing, even overwhelming, business of finding the help you need. They can help you sign up for Access DuPage medical care, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). They can also give you information on other programs, like the Veterans Assistance Commission of DuPage County. And you don't have to run all  over the county burning gas to do it. They can give you practical, one-on-one help with your job search, help you learn English, and even help you learn computer skills at your own pace. They can help you manage your personal finances and even help you with your taxes. They know what you're going through, and that sometimes you just need someone to talk to. And twice a month they help you select the nutritious food your family enjoys to tide you over, because the name of this place you can go is Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry. Yes, it's a food pantry, but it's a lot more.

Find out what they can do for you and what you can do for them. Loaves and Fishes would like you join them this Friday, June 14th from 12 noon to 10 pm, for their sixth annual Day Without Hunger to celebrate community, diversity, and of course food, great food in fact from a variety of restaurants. It will be a spectacular day filled with music, dancing, multicultural exhibits, and all kinds of demonstrations from line dancing to potting vegetables. And of course it's all absolutely free. There are many food oriented charities around the country named Loaves and Fishes, but they're all independent.

Naperville's is located at 1871 High Grove Ln., which is the road Fort Hill Dr turns into as you go north. Their web site is Call 630-355-3663 if you don't have access to a computer. The incredibly full schedule for the day, including all the kids' activities, is online. There will not be any parking on site Friday because of the tents and the stage, but you can park in the old Key Wester lot, which is immediately to the west. There will be a shuttle van for those who may have trouble walking.

Near the fishing village of Bethsaida, Jesus miraculously fed the multitude with only a few loaves and fishes. Today, SNAP serves 23 million people, but even so they and many more too often find themselves without enough food. Hunger stalks so many families because food is the only discretionary expense they have. But this will never be a country that lets its children starve. So people come together at places like Loaves and Fishes, contributing whatever they can, nourishing and nurturing all who come there. It is they who feed the multitude, and the only miracle they can summon is the incredible miracle of human compassion. They do it for many reasons, but mainly because it is the right thing to do. Become one of them.

Charles McLimans discusses Loaves & Fishes

This interview aired on Relevant Radio, a national Catholic radio station. Listen to Executive Director/CEO Charles McLimans as he discusses his work at Loaves & Fishes and the ways we help the community.

Visit NCTV17's website here.

Hunger in Plain Sight

from The New York Times:

There are hungry people out there, actually; they’re just largely invisible to the rest of us, or they look so much like us that it’s hard to tell. The Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program, better known as SNAP and even better known as food stamps, currently has around 46 million participants, a record high. That’s one in eight Americans — 10 people in your subway car, one or two on every line at Walmart. Read article.

L&F on national CBS Sunday Morning program:

Loaves & Fishes was featured in a segment, November 18, on CBS Sunday Morning as part of its annual food show. The topic was rescuing wasted food to fight hunger. Take a look to learn more about our food recovery operations and see some familiar Loaves & Fishes friends!

Visit our YouTube page.

Food Pantry Busier Over the Last Year, L&F Sees More Clients

Courtesy of NCTV17

Learn About Loaves & Fishes Smart Choice Program

Courtesy of NCTV17