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posted: 4/16/2013 8:57 AM

United Way needs your help with food drive

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Submitted by Barbara Ferguson

Many families in the community are struggling. This is true throughout the Chicago area where local food pantries estimate that demands for food and toiletries have more than doubled in the last five years.

In Dundee Township, which is part of the Northwest Suburban United Way, it has partnered with the North Shore United Way and local shopping malls to sponsor the "United Way April Food Day" Thursday, April 18.

Spring Hill Mall is one of the selected locations and all food collected there will go to FISH Food Pantry located inside the Meadowdale Shopping Center in Carpentersville, which serves the residents of Carpentersville, East Dundee, Gilberts, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee.

Mary Graziano, FISH president, reported that in 2012 FISH fed 5,252 families. With an average of five people per family, 25,206 people were fed thanks to local generosity. Graziano emphasized that the need is not diminishing, as an average of 438 families were fed per month in 2012; but this January 2013, 505 families came for food. She added that there has also been an increase in the numbers of senior citizens requiring assistance due to the economy.

The food drive kicked off April 7, and since then food boxes for donations have been located at various sites, including the village halls of Carpentersville, East Dundee, Gilberts, Sleepy Hollow and West Dundee. They also are at the Dundee Township Park District centers on Route 68 and Randall Road and at both First American Banks in Carpentersville and West Dundee.

Some District 300 schools like Golfview Elementary, Perry Elementary, Parkview Elementary, Lakewood School, Carpentersville Middle School and St. Catherine of Siena are also collecting. Even businesses like Revcor and Main Street Bicycles have collection boxes at their sites.

Area service clubs like the Carpentersville Rotary, Dundee Rotary, Dundee Lions Club and Sleepy Hollow Service Club are pitching in to help bring donations to Spring Hill Mall and then deliver them to FISH Food Pantry.

When Dundee Rotary learned that the food pantry is a part of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, and because of this affiliation every dollar has two dollars purchasing power, the members voted to donate $750 to FISH.

It is not too late for you to help your neighbor. Nonperishable food items in cans, boxes or bags (no glass), baby food, formula, diapers plus hygiene supplies like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent can be brought to any of the above locations before April 18 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

On Thursday, April 18, Spring Hill Mall Manager Amy Prew has arranged a donation drop-off location at the mall entrance near Barnes and Noble by the Sears wing. She has even assembled some goody bags as a reward for your generosity.

For information, call Collier Rowe at Northwest Suburban United Way at (847) 768-1074 or Amy Prew at Spring Hill Mall at (847) 428-1509.