Food, money, essential items all in demand at Kendall pantry

By Erika Wurst For Chronicle Media

The Kendall County Food Pantry in Yorkville serves a population that includes not only Kendall but DeKalb and LaSalle counties as well. Clients need to show proof of residency. (Photo courtesy of Kendall Food Pantry)

Whether it’s your time, your money, or your canned fruit, Kendall County Food Pantry Board Chairman Greg Witek is happy to take it all.

As the holiday season fast approaches, and needs are high, volunteers and donations of all kinds are being sought after by the Yorkville pantry, which serves clients from Kendall, LaSalle and DeKalb counties.

“Donations mean your caring for your neighbor,” Witek said. “You might not know who they are, but they aren’t unusual people. They might be families where someone lost a job, or someone got sick. The pantry is just a place to go for regular folks when money gets tight.”

Witek said a visit to the pantry, where a client can walk away with hundreds of dollars in groceries a month, can mean the difference between living off a credit card or not. It means kids will be warm this winter, women will have the feminine products they need, and bellies will be full.

With more than 100 volunteers running the 36,000 square-foot warehouse, the challenge seems steep. Witek called it a “gigantic process.”

“It’s pretty simple when you boil it down though,” he noted.

There are volunteers to sort and hang clothing, others to unload trucks six mornings a week. Other volunteers run the pantry during its open days on Monday and Thursday, making sure clients’s needs are met.

The crew gave out 650 full Thanksgiving dinners recently, and plan to do the same over the Christmas holiday.

Ham’s, canned corn (not creamed), cans of fruit, boxed au gratin potatoes and dinner rolls. flour and sugar continue to be a high demand item as well.

Pick-up for clients will be held on Thursday Dec. 19.

There is a 24-hour drop off location. Anyone organizing a larger drive needs to message the pantry  on Facebook at

And while it’s up to individual families to decide how they want to donate to the pantry, Witek noted that monetary donations can go a long, long way. The buying power of a single dollar can equate to $8 worth of food purchased with pantry discounts.

Volunteers bag up donations during Thanksgiving week at the Kendall County Food Pantry in Yorkville. The pantry says it needs more food donations this holiday season and demand is always high for personal care products. (Photo courtesy of Kendall Food Pantry)

“If someone buys and donates $10 worth of food, we would usually be able to buy about $70-80 worth of food for the same cost,” Witek stressed. “If people would give $10, $20,  $30, that buying power would be amazing.”

The pantry doesn’t rely on big donors, but a smaller grass roots movement of folks making small, reoccurring donations.

Things the pantry cannot get discounts on are things like disposable diapers, children’s medicine, feminine products, and similar items. These are much needed items where physical donations are beyond welcomed.

However if you give, remember who you’re helping and why.

“It just depends on the personality of the family and whatever and however they feel like donating,” Witek said.

For more information on donations and volunteering visit