Providing food and comfort to neighbors in need is a common cause among people of all faiths, no matter the religion or denomination.
With this unifying theme in mind, Northern Illinois Food Bank is hosting Full on Faith, a weeklong initiative Feb. 22-27 dedicated to helping faith-based organizations serve their community by joining in the food bank's mission of solving hunger.
Congregations and schools of all faiths are invited to participate and help the food bank feed 71,000 people each week throughout its 13-county service area. Ways to get involved in Full on Faith week include:
• Volunteering at one of the food bank's centers in Geneva, Rockford and Park City. Groups of up to 50 people and children, age 8 and older, are welcome to help pack and sort food that will be distributed to individuals and families in need.
• Inviting a food bank speaker to your place of worship to educate your congregation about the issue of hunger. Speakers are available leading up to Full on Faith week and throughout the year.
• Hosting a food and fund drive or taking a special collection during a service and donating it to the food bank, where every $1 donated provides $8 worth of food.
Faith-based groups have played an integral role in Northern Illinois Food Bank's mission since the organization was founded in 1983 under the name Bethlehem Center by Sister Rosemarie Burian. Today, 66 percent of the 800 community food pantries and feeding programs in the Food Bank's network are operated by faith-based organizations.
"Solving hunger takes an entire community, and we are so grateful to work with groups of all faiths to make sure our hungry neighbors have access to nutritious food throughout the year," said Julie Yurko, Northern Illinois Food Bank's president and CEO. "Through Full on Faith week, we look forward to meeting new faith-based groups while also strengthening relationships with congregations already engaged with our mission."
For more information about Full on Faith week, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org/FullonFaith. To sign up a volunteer group for Full on Faith week, or to request a speaker, contact Shannon Thompson at (630) 443-6910, ext. 125.
One in seven people in northern Illinois rely on Northern Illinois Food Bank's network of community food pantries and feeding programs. Last year, the Food Bank distributed more than 57 million meals to neighbors in need. To learn more, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org. If you are in need of food assistance, log onto www.SolveHungerToday.org/GetHelp to find the nearest food pantry or feeding program.