Team effort feeds the hungry in Mundelein

A church, a regional food bank and three school districts joined forces Friday in Mundelein to host a pop-up food distribution effort for families in need.

The Chapel Food Pantry and Northern Illinois Food Bank, as well as volunteers from Mundelein Elementary District 75, Diamond Lake Elementary District 76 and Mundelein High School District 120, provided enough food for 250 families in the Mundelein Metra parking lot on Archer Avenue.

"Cars were lined up 45 minutes before we got here," said Jorge Moncada, parent liaison for District 75. Moncada said he helped identify families in the community who need help because of pandemic-related income losses and other reasons.

"A lot of families you see here are former students in the district who now have their own families," he said. "It's a rich connection we have with the community."

The event was part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Volunteer Week, April 18-24.

Friday's distribution effort was organized by Pastor Thomas McArthur of the Mundelein campus of The Chapel, a nondenominational church with several campuses in Lake County, and food was delivered by Northern Illinois Food Bank. About two dozen other volunteers, many of them Mundelein High School students, lifted boxes and bags into the vehicles.

According to Northern Illinois Food Bank, which has distribution centers in Geneva, Park City, Rockford and Joliet, there has been a 62% increase in the need for food since the beginning of the pandemic 14 months ago. The food bank and its partners have served more than 100 million meals and staged almost 900 mobile and pop-up food pantries during that time.

"It's really a blessing to give back to the community, but specifically to give food," said Moncada, who has worked in Mundelein schools for 21 years. "This is the greatest fulfillment."

More food distribution events are scheduled for Saturday across the suburbs - from 9 a.m. to noon at Camera Park, 101 E. Fullerton Ave. in Glendale Heights, and at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin; and from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Prince of Peace Church, 135 S. Milwaukee Ave. in Lake Villa.

  A pop-up food distribution Friday at the Mundelein Metra station provided enough prepackaged food for 250 families. The Chapel Food Pantry, the Northern Illinois Food Bank and Mundelein school districts 75, 76 and 120 joined forces to help families in need. John Starks/
  Cars were lined up for 45 minutes Friday before the start of a pop-up food distribution at the Mundelein Metra station, organizers said. John Starks/
  According to Northern Illinois Food Bank, which provided food for Friday's pop-up distribution effort in Mundelein, there has been a 62% increase in need since the beginning of the pandemic 14 months ago. John Starks/
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