Grub Grab pop-up food pantry helps hungry Lake County residents

The Grub Grab is a go.

Every Thursday at 1 p.m., a parking space at the Long Lake Metra station transforms into a pop-up food pantry providing free meals for anyone in need.

It's the brainchild of three friends from the Gavin Elementary District 37 board. The trio formed Community Cares, an organization that delivers food - some donated from Maravela's restaurant and banquet hall in Fox Lake and some rounded up by Cub Scout Pack 179 - to anyone who shows up.

"It's just a way to give back to the community," says Jim Miller, president of the school board.

Miller saw a need for students who are home during the pandemic and not receiving meals through the district's free and reduced-cost lunch program. He enlisted fellow board members Eric Beccelli and Erika Cappert in the effort.

They all have children in Cub Scouts who started getting donated food and $50 gift cards from Jewel. Then Maravela's jumped in with prepackaged microwaveable meals. Each week they serve as many as three dozen families. Any food left over at the parking lot is delivered to other area families.

"There is no need for food to go in the garbage when there are so many people in need," said Cappert.

The group plans to show up in the Metra parking lot every Thursday at 1 p.m. until people stop coming.

To make a donation, email

  Jim Miller and Eric Beccelli pack microwaveable meals that they donate every Thursday through the "Grub Grab Pop-up Food Pantry" they've created at the Long Lake Metra station. John Starks/
  Free food is given away every Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Long Lake Metra station. John Starks/
  The Grub Grab Pop-up Food Pantry delivers donated meals every Thursday at the Long Lake Metra station. John Starks/
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