Published Nov. 18, 2010
HCS plays a big role for those
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
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
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
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
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
The Hinsdalean and HCS Family Services, which works to
empower families and change lives.