The 2016 Hunger Walk was a great success for Ignatian Services and other members of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The sun was shining and there was a cool breeze blowing as Team Ignatius assembled in the school lot to receive Fr. Jackson`s blessing. A new location this year, Jackson Park, presented some unexpected challenges but the walk stepped off on time. Together with people from all across Cook County we made our way along the lakefront and the end of our walk we were greeted with cheers from volunteers and staff of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This year`s team included: Brent Barker, Sr. Mary Catherine Beckman, Linda and Doug Cousino, Peggy Hall-Heineman, Pat Kenny, the Kozoil Family (David, Cristina, Phillip, Isabel, Lydia), the Mac Laughlin Family ( Alfredo, Mercedes, Cata, AJ), Kathy Morris, Pat O`Neal, Star Santiago, Sue and Mary Taras. Our new walkers this year were: Maureen Harazin, Clar Krusinski, Deacon Larry Rossow and the Timcheck Family (Andrew, Christine, Helena). Thanks for a job well done. As our team grows we are thinking about having a bus for next year`s event. So, if you could not make it this year please consider joining us next year! Our goal for this year`s walk was $8,000 so far we have processed $7,003.00. Contributions should be to the rectory by July 24, 2016.
This past year, 2015, was a year of change for the food pantry. The biggest change was going paperless with our intake process. Through the generosity of the Greater Chicago Food Depository we received lap top computers and soft ware to record our client data. This sped up the intake process and made generating month end reports quick and easy. We did notice that we were spending less time interacting with each family during the intake process. We lost touch with our families; we realigned our priorities. Our intake volunteers now take a little longer asking questions and listening to see if there are concerns that need to be addressed.
We also joined a test program to have our groceries delivered by the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The food pantry now receives three deliveries a month. We order without regard to the total weight of the order allowing us to purchase a wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for our families. Since the program started in September things have been running pretty smoothly.
What has not changed over the past year are the people we serve. Our numbers remain flat with 2014. Each month we can expect to serve 181 families which translate to 452 individuals. Most of our families have children under the age of 18; an average family size is 5 people. For the most part our seniors live by themselves relying on Social Security to make ends meet. The need to visit our food pantry still exists in our community. With your generosity we will continue to be here for your neighbors in need.
In 2015 the food pantry distributed the following to our neighbors in need:
57,947 pounds of food that was purchased or donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository
5,000 pounds of food that was donated by area schools
1,872 pounds of yogurt
That total is 63,819 pounds of food or 32.4 tons!
The food that we distributed included chickens, beef patties, pork chops, hams, eggs, yogurt, bread, rice, beans, peanut butter, jelly, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, pasta, hot and cold cereals, canned tuna, chicken and salmon, soups, beef stew, macaroni & cheese, cookies, granola bars. Our clients are given the opportunity to choose those items that suit their needs.
As the school year comes to an end, Ignatian Services will be saying good-bye to our students for the summer. We are grateful for the support of the seventh and eighth grade Hardy Prep students who helped us twice a month to prepare for our weekly distribution. They were always upbeat, energetic and well-behaved. Our college students from Loyola University and St. Joseph Seminary will also be taking the summer off. Each semester students from various disciplines come to work and learn in the pantry. We are grateful for all our students and hope they have a safe summer.
Ignatian Services is the social service expression of the Faith Community of St. Ignatius Church in Rogers Park. Its purpose is to provide assistance to those members of our neighborhood who are in need. Ignatian Services does not discriminate. The primary ministry of Ignatian Services is the distribution of food through our food pantry. We strive to develop new programs to help the disadvantaged members of our community to lead healthy lives-- body and soul. Together, out volunteers, benefactors, parishioners, and clients form a community.
This is why we say that WE ARE ALL IGNATIAN SERVICES.
Throughout the year we supply our families with an assortment of core food items to meet the needs of their families. On Thanksgiving Day we provide a traditional turkey dinner for the community. Our guests include those unable to cook for themselves or those wanting to share a meal with others. In December, our food pantry clients receive special holiday food baskets. These baskets take into account the diversity of our community and include traditional and ethnic specialties of the season. Ignatian Services also partners with Catholic Charities to sponsor our Christmas Giving Tree. Generous parishioners and neighbors donate new toys for over 200 needy children; ensuring that these children have a brighter holiday season.
In 2015 our food pantry served 5,424 individuals that represent over 800 different families. On average we serve 181 families a month, 452 individuals. Our clients are given the opportunity to choose the items that will best suit their family`s tastes. These items include but are not limited to: rice, beans, pasta, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, peanut butter, jelly, yogurt, eggs, cereal both hot & cold, canned tuna or chicken, powdered milk. The amount of food given to a client is dependent upon the size of the family. Each month we distribute approximately 6 tons of food.
Ignatian Services has many fundraising drives throughout the year, and we accept donations of non perishable food items, diapers, toiletry items soap, shampoo, toothbrushes), and plastic grocery bags year round. Your financial support is also always needed!
A donation of $140.00 enables us to purchase a ton of food (2,000 pounds) at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. A contribution of $70.00 will buy a half of ton. No donation is too small; $12.00 will buy a case of peanut butter; $58.00 will buy 36 gallons of powdered milk. We appreciate your support.
37% are children or teens
17% are senior citizens
On average, 925 individuals are served each month
Over 6 tons of food are distributed each month
Want to make a donation, or just have a question about Ignatian Services? Please contact Kathy Morris, Director of Ignatian Services.