Students help stock Hinsdale food pantry
Kailey Hoel , 14, is a member of Hinsdale South Key Club. Members of the club, and the National Honor Society, hope to collect more than 20,000 pounds of food during the school's annual drive, which starts Nov. 5. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Food pantry shopping list
Canned tuna and chicken
Canned tomato products
Canned chili and non-condensed soups
Canned fruits and vegetables
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Feminine Care Products
Paper and plastic shopping bags
Updated: January 7, 2013 1:42AM
HINSDALE — Student-led food drives are refilling food pantry shelves.
A group of 10 students from Hinsdale Central’s Honor Society collected 700 food items on Halloween, said 17-year-old Lucy Wang, a member of the group.
“It was so amazing,” Wang said. The students, some wearing their Halloween costumes, went door-to-door in the neighborhood around Burns Field the afternoon of Oct. 31.
“We had passed out flyers beforehand,” to alert residents to the food drive, which the Honor Society did as a community service project, Wang said.
On Nov. 1, five of the students went to the HCS Family Services food pantry in the basement of Hinsdale’s Memorial Hall to sort the canned and dry goods they had collected.
Julie Suarez, coordinator of the HCS food pantry, said food drives like the Honor Society’s and one done by a group of Brownies at Gower West Elementary School in Burr Ridge, are helping to fill the pantry’s otherwise sparsely stocked shelves.
“It’s been just trickling in,” Suarez said of much-needed donations to the pantry.
The 16 boxes of food recently collected at Gower West were distributed to needy families nearly as quickly as the items could be sorted.
As donations of food have decreased, the need has increased. Last year at this time the pantry was providing food for 75 to 85 families each week.
“We’re serving well over 100 a week now,” Suarez said.
Suarez said she is counting on Hinsdale South High School’s food drive this week to help fill the need. Over the 26-year history of the food drive, students have gathered more than 500,000 pounds of food communitywide.
The food drive runs through Nov. 9. A semi-trailer is parked at the school throughout the drive to collect donations from students, teachers and members of the community.
Suarez also needs volunteers to help stock and clean the pantry on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Drivers are needed to pick up donations from area stores on weekday mornings.
“I’m always in need of volunteers,” said Suarez, who can be reached at (630) 323-2500, Ext. 106.
Jody Collins, a parent and co-leader of the third-grade troop, said the food drive has proven to be an important lesson for her daughter and her fellow Brownies.
“She has become more aware of what people need in the community,” Collins said of her daughter, Erin.
Kimberly Fornek contributed to this report.