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updated: 3/18/2013 1:58 PM

Kids home on break puts greater demand on food pantry

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Spring break for area school students falling the week before Easter will not help FISH Food Pantry volunteers keep their shelves stocked for the holiday.

When elementary, middle, and high school students are off from school, demand for food traditionally increases for the Carpentersville-based pantry, said President Mary Graziano.

"With the kids not being in school, they will not receive reduced and free breakfasts and lunches in the buildings. They will be home, and their families will have to provide them meals," she said. "Demand for food is usually huge for us for spring break."

When Easter arrives this year, there may be no holiday dinner supplies to distribute.

"Unless we receive some thorough donations, we will not be giving out hams or potatoes this year," Graziano said. "We just can't do it; we don't have the money this year. We will be giving out the normal supplies we give all year long."

With the help of food drives conducted by churches, schools and civic groups, pantry volunteers have been able to meet this month's demand. Also with monetary donations, they have been able to purchase some food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

Those purchases and arrivals occur on the first and third Friday of the month. They include canned vegetables, pasta, peanut butter and jelly, and cereal. Volunteers purchase other items from local grocery stores.

"We received our supply of food from the food bank (on March 15). We won't receive another one until after Easter," she said. "There is just no time to put together Easter dinners. People will have something for dinner, but it won't be ham."

The pantry is based in the Meadowdale Shopping Center, along Route 25. It serves residents in East and West Dundee, Sleepy Hollow, and Carpentersville. Not only do residents receive food, but when they are available, they receive toiletries, such as bath soap, toothpaste, deodorant and baby diapers.

Each month, more than 400 unemployed or underemployed families depend on the pantry for food to put on their tables.

"Spring break is a lot like summer for us. The demand increases because children are out of school," the pantry president said. "Since we have been open we have been able to meet the demand because the community has been generous."

The pantry is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday. Volunteers can be reached at (847) 428-4357.

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