Thursday, November 14, 2013

Volunteering at the Northern Illinois Food Bank with the Illinois Farm Families Field Moms

This past year, I have had the opportunity to explore Illinois farms and the food chain that leads from the farm to my table thanks to the Illinois Farm Families Field Moms program. I followed an acre of soybeans, an acre of corn and a pen of pigs, both in person and online. Now that the harvest has come and gone, I spent Saturday working a shift at a food bank. While there, our team also donated 780 pounds of much-needed protein, in the form of ground pork. The food will be distributed to Illinois families in need. 
My fellow Field Moms at the food bank
The Northern Illinois Food Bank is a non-profit organization committed to feeding our hungry neighbors. Across 13 counties, food manufacturers, local groceries, corporations, foundations, and individuals come together to donate food and funds, and evaluate and repack food for distribution to our more than 600 network partners – the food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior feeding programs that serve more than 60,000 different people each week. Its mission is to lead the northern Illinois community in solving hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships. 
I am already a stickler about not wasting food in our home. After spending time in the food bank, and seeing the utter quantity of food that would have ended up in the garbage had a food bank not been in place, I renewed my promise to keep food waste to an absolute minimum in our home. 
I am so thankful that the food bank is in place: instead of tossing food that has reached its sell-by date, the food is immediatly flash frozen and transported to the food bank, where volunteers box it up and bring it to local food pantries and low-income homes for the elderly. 

I was so touched by the thank you cards written by people who have turned to the food bank or a local pantry in a time of need. Indeed I am thankful for the food on my family's table, and I'm thankful that I had the chance to volunteer on Saturday. I will be returning to volunteer once again before the holidays, this time with my 12-year-old son in tow. 
Whether you are looking for a one-time volunteer opportunity for a group or an ongoing opportunity for yourself, the Northern Illinois Food Bank can put your talents to use! Check out volunteer opportunities here
I want to thank the Illinois Field Moms for this fabulous opportunity. To learn more about the Illinois Farm families, the people behind the food on our table, visit watchusgrow.org 
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