Head bent, her dark hair falling over her eyes, 12-year-old Alexis Miller wrote intently on a blue piece of paper.
"I am making a card for people that need food," she explained. "I thought that maybe it would make them a little bit happier."
Alexis and her two siblings attended an open house on Saturday afternoon at the Northern Illinois Food Bank's new headquarters in Geneva.
The free event featured a tour of the facility, kids' activities, cooking demonstrations and exercise classes.
Their mother, Pam Miller of Elgin, said the family has been getting assistance from the Hanover Township Food Pantry for about a year. The food bank distributes goods through a network of more than 600 partner agencies in 13 counties.
"I'm a single mom. It helps a lot," said Miller, who works part-time. "But there are still a lot of people who don't know that this is out there."
The food bank's new digs have the same footprint as the old location -- 144,000 square feet -- but nearly three times the ceiling clearance and more than double the freezer capacity, said Northern Illinois Food Bank President and CEO Peter Schaefer.
Last year, the food bank distributed about 35 million pounds of food, but more is always needed, especially produce, Schaefer said. "A lot of people are not only hungry, but are not on a good diet," he said, adding that while the need for food assistance has increased, government help is shrinking.
Jerry and Estella Hayes, who know about the importance of good diet, talked about their weight loss, which they achieved after they appeared on the TV show "The Biggest Loser" three years ago.
"Exercise is the fire to get your metabolism going, but food is the key," Jerry Hayes said.
For some, touring the place was a reminder of how much they have.
"You kind of forget that when we're eating dinner every night, there are so many people out there who are starving," said Kelly Massa, whose mother has worked for the food bank for more than 10 years.
The Northern Illinois Food Bank is at 273 Dearborn Court in Geneva. For information call (630) 443-6910.