Food Pantry Scavenger Hunt keeps growing in Palatine Twp.
An annual food drive that started with eight blocks in a Palatine neighborhood and grew to about 2,100 homes over 85 blocks continued its expansion this year with the assistance of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington and the use of a school as a collection point.
Donors to the Food Pantry Scavenger Hunt this week could drop off items at Pleasant Hill Elementary School on Illinois Avenue or leave nonperishables on their porches to be picked up by children and adults toting red wagons.
Palatine Township's food pantry is the beneficiary of the drive that involved about 400 volunteers this year. Township Supervisor Sharon Langlotz-Johnson said the donations come at a time of year when supplies typically dwindle.
Organizer Kim Saxe said she and her husband, Dave, started the event in 2010 with a small group of friends, neighbors and teammates and classmates of the their two oldest children. The effort grew to 30 blocks in 2017 and accelerated to 85 this week.
"The formula for our event's success is simple," Kim Saxe said. "It is well-planned, all ages can participate, the participants enjoy the activity. From start to finish, the food is collected and loaded in 90 minutes, and the results are immediately recognizable."
Willow Creek, where the Saxes are members, was brought in to ramp up Sunday's food drive and involve even more Palatine families.
Palatine resident Krista Budzisz, a group life coach at Willow Creek, said the church's care center contributed a "Love Everyone Always" box truck to haul extra food the township could not bring to the pantry. Donations included peanut butter, soup, cereal, coffee, soap and shampoo.
Budzisz said each team had a captain and one block to cover in the hunt for donations. Flyers with information about the Food Pantry Scavenger Hunt were distributed to the 2,100 homes a week before the collection.
"Everyone's working together," Budzisz said. "You get a chance to meet your neighbors. You get put on a team, so you're kind of spending an hour with somebody as you're walking along the blocks. It's along the lines of meeting your neighbors and having a chance to get to know them better and do something really good together."
Langlotz-Johnson appreciates the donations and volunteers.
"This amazing family event and its growth only confirms my belief in our community and caring between neighbors," she said.