Help the Oak Park - River Forest Food Pantry's light shine brighter

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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We are struggling with bills and illness and have to choose between eating and paying bills. I have even had to take my daily medication every other day in order to stretch it out to the next payday. We have been relying heavily on the food pantry for meals so my check can go towards other necessities. I don't plan to keep going to the pantry forever, but until things get better it is the light at the end of the tunnel. — Caroline

With the protracted recession and continued high unemployment, many people find their resources exhausted and are at a loss for what to do. At the Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry, we are honored to help neighbors like Caroline in their time of need.

More than 50,000 people received emergency food from the food pantry in 2011 — 22% more than the previous year. All 50,000 people were provided with food because individuals, congregations, organizations and funders from Oak Park and River Forest are responsive to the need.

You can help provide a light at the end of the tunnel to those in need by participating in the 15th annual Feinstein Challenge.

Rhode Island philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein will divide $1 million among anti-hunger agencies nationwide as a spur to raise funds during March and April, 2012. Mr. Feinstein divides his million dollars proportionately among all participating agencies, depending on the amount of money and food each agency collects during March and April.

Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry restocks every week with 10,000 pounds of food. Sixty percent of that is purchased.

All schools in Oak Park and River Forest have been invited to collect food and funds for the Feinstein Challenge.

Monetary donations are especially important to the food pantry's ability to provide nutrient-dense, protein-rich foods. The pantry is able to purchase food from the local food bank at a deep discount. In fact, every dollar used for food at the food bank will result in $10 of food.

You can help the pantry's light shine brighter and stronger for the many people who seek emergency food by making a monetary donation via PayPal at or mail your donation to the pantry at 848 Lake St., Oak Park 60301.

Kathy Russell
Executive director, OP-RF Food Pantry

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