Happy New Year 🎉📣. I say this every year, but I cannot believe how fast 2020 has gone. I've heard many people say that it went slow for them because of Covid, but not for me. However, it has been quite a year. Everyone is agreeing on that.
In December the food pantry was used 395 times assisting 1,517 individuals. Yesterday we had only 15 families which is the lowest one day total. Throughout the day about 32 volunteers were there at various times which means we outnumbered them by about 2 to 1. The most frequent comment I heard was "there were 15 families that needed food, so we had to be there."
We distributed Christmas dinners to 97 families.
Even with many food pantries having to close due to the many problems brought about by the pandemic, we didn't miss a beat. We never had a lack of volunteers. You made it possible with your dedication and concern for others. We never had a lack of food or supplies. The community stepped up with food and monetary donations.
I cannot say enough good things about the Greater Chicago Food Depository. They made sure that all the food pantries and soup kitchens had enough food to distribute by giving us everything at no cost since March plus giving us more food with our orders. This will continue through June 30, 2021. They also opened up popup food pantries in areas where there were not enough distribution sites due to the economic needs of low income areas.
Our food distribution system changed. Instead of having people come into the food pantry, register, and take their cart to their car, we adopted a drive through system. All the families had to do was pull up their cars, answer a few questions, get their car loaded by us and drive away. We did that from March through September. We were there in the cold and heat, rain or shine. In October we again started the computer registrations in the church hospitality area, giving the family a ticket, and having them continue with the drive through method.
The food pantry was used about 6,848 times in 2020 for an average of 571 times a month. Things have settled down the past few months, so we have averaged about 392 times a month since October. Our highest day was 254 families and our lowest was 15 (yesterday).
I try to keep track of the weight of our deliveries which includes food rescue, orders, USDA, etc. and what we get from our own pickups from Target and Aldi's. I estimate we received about 596,000 pounds of food through our partnership with the Food Depository during 2020 for a cost of $353.00.
We are grateful to the Church of the Holy Spirit and the staff for their generosity to the food pantry. They have allowed us to do whatever was needed to be done in the facility in order to assist our families. Fr Jeremy even gives up his garage space on Thursdays, so we can use it during the deliveries and food pantry hours.
Thank you for all that you do 👼👼
Food Pantry Director