Matt Settler of Buffalo Grove carried a sign on Nov. 12 in Northbrook that said, “I helped take a bite out of hunger.”
Settler was among those who gave of their time at Community Outreach Day at the UL campus in Northbrook, 333 Pfingsten Road.
Hunger Resource Network (HRN) of Northbrook, UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and Feed6, collaborated on Saturday to help supply local food pantries and soup kitchens with 50,000 packaged meals and 126,000 pounds of frozen chicken.
“I’m just grateful that we’re able to get the food,” said Pastor Charles Amoh, picking up chicken to assist under resourced families in the Rogers Park community.
More than 340 community volunteers were a part of the day. Included were approximately 240 UL employee volunteers who packed fortified macaroni and cheese meals via Feed6, a meal packing event organizer.
The other 100 volunteers came from local neighborhoods, organizations and businesses who distributed frozen leg quarters provided by HRN to representatives of 100 food banks.
“We’re happy to help,” said Lieutenant Steve Morris, among Northbrook Fire Department personnel who helped to load vehicles.
The community outreach day is the 8th sponsored by HRN and the first as a partnership with Feed6 and UL.
“Our job is to make as many people as possible aware of the hunger need in Chicago and how to help,” said PJ Weiland of Glenview, board member and HRN vice-president of marketing and social media.
With Veterans Day on Nov. 11, HRN officials wanted to make sure veterans were among those thought of and taken care of with donations.
“We’re helping a lot of fellow veterans and a lot of people that need help,” said Dan Jariabka of Northbrook, HRN president and founder (hungerresourcenetwork.org).
Chicken distribution took place outdoors where motorists queued to have chicken boxes loaded into large trucks, open trailers or minivans, as examples.
Indoors, UL employees packed meals shift style.
“UL’s message is that we’re delighted to partner with Feed6 and the Hunger Resource Network to use our property, which on a Saturday, is kind of empty,” said John Drengenberg of Northbrook, consumer safety director and UL spokesman.
“There’s plenty of room for the semis and for all of the people who are picking up the great food to help put a dent in hunger,” Drengenberg said.
Chicken boxes were loaded by skid or one box at a time in assembly lines.
“There are so many hungry people that need this so desperately,” said volunteer and Rabbi Nancy Landsman of Ahavat Olam of Deerfield.
“I hate to see people go hungry,” said Gail Eisenberg of Northbrook, also a volunteer.
Bruce Gonzalez of Northbrook, store manager of Sunset Foods of Northbrook and Ron Bernardi, also of Sunset Foods, are longtime supporters of Community Outreach Day.
The parking lot at Sunset Foods in Northbrook, 1127 Church St., has served as an HRN distribution site. The two were seen this year setting up a refreshment station for volunteers and assisting at pick up lanes.
The amount of protein distributed on Nov. 12 lasts about two weeks, bringing the need back up for Thanksgiving.
But the generosity sets the tone for holiday giving, said Gonzalez, who was impressed to hear 126,000 pounds was the amount distributed on one 32-degree sunny morning.
“This is going to feed a lot of families, especially in the weeks before Thanksgiving.
“It makes the Thanksgiving feast so much more flavorful,” Gonzalez added.
“Let’s make Thanksgiving better for all.”
— Community Outreach Day puts hunger awareness out front —