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Hinsdale, Illinois |

Published Nov. 18, 2010                                                    

HCS plays a big role for those
with little

   Few deliveries are as anticipated as the one that arrived late Saturday afternoon just south of Hinsdale.
   The truck wasn’t schedule to arrive until 3:30 p.m., but 75 people had already gathered to wait for it at 2:15 p.m. The bread, meat, cereal and other items from the Northern Illinois Food Bank mobile food pantry would become dinner that night for about 150 families who came to partake of its bounty.
   Thanks to HCS Family Services, the truck arrives once a month in the parking lot of Hinsdale Lake Terrace filled with 10,000 pounds of food. Each month the truck carries something different, although meat and produce are always in the mix. Saturday afternoon’s offerings included bread, cantaloupe, cookie mix, barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, a juice drink, cereal and lots of frozen meat.
   Earlier this summer coming to the mobile pantry was a family activity, with kids playing soccer or basketball while their parents signed in and waited for their turn. But the weather was cold Saturday afternoon, so most people waited indoors until their numbers were called.
   Some picked up an empty box to fill with the food. Others brought plastic or canvass bags and a few even had carts or wagons to haul away their groceries. Volunteers staffed the tables, letting people know what they could take, carried boxes and helped people bring groceries back to their cars.
   It’s amazing process to watch. When the truck arrives, volunteers are ready to begin unloading. Each compartment on the truck holds a different item, with plastic tables stored cleverly between them.
   Volunteers prepackage as much food as possible so people will move through the lines quickly. The truck carries enough food for about 300 families, and the driver knows exactly what he’s carrying. He tells volunteers, based on projected turnout, how much of each item each person can take.
   Two women stood watching as volunteers from St. Isaac Jogues’ confirmation class, Bank of America and the Hinsdale Central National Honor Society lined up boxes and bags on each of the tables. One woman clearly had come to the mobile pantry before while the other was there for the first time. She couldn’t believe that in an hour or so, her bags would be filled with the food coming off the truck.
   She was especially excited to see the boxes and boxes of peanut butter cookie mix.
   “Ooh, my daughter would love that,” she said.
   Her excitement over a box of cookie mix was humbling and touching.
   Most Hinsdaleans probably can’t imagine getting their groceries from a truck in a parking lot. Most Hinsdale Lake Terrace residents probably can’t imagine buying their groceries at Kramer Foods.
   But as shoppers left Kramer’s Saturday and dropped a twenty or a fifty in a collection can, they were helping to make a difference for people who live just 7 miles away. The ERA Team Feinstein drive Saturday generated $1,850 in cash alone for HCS — almost enough to pay for three visits from the food pantry truck.
   For those on the giving end and those on the receiving end, the mobile food pantry is an wonderful opportunity.

    Making a Difference is a yearlong partnership between
The Hinsdalean and HCS Family Services, which works to
empower families and change lives.





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