On July 25, 2013 Northern Illinois Food Bank participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its second school-based food pantry followed by an Open House celebration. Barb Food Mart is housed in Huntley Middle School in DeKalb, Illinois, and is now open to families with children enrolled in DeKalb School District 428.
Half of District 428’s student population qualifies for free or reduced-lunches at the school. The school pantry model makes it convenient for families in need to access food by locating the pantry in a place they already frequent. Since its soft open in mid-June, 200 families have registered at the pantry, with approximately 75 families visiting each week.
Guests at the open house enjoyed tastings of spicy mashed potatoes from the University of Illinois Extension Office, refreshments and tours of the pantry. Barb Food Mart is open on Thursdays from 3 – 5 p.m. Funding has been generously provided by Feeding America, ConAgra Foods Foundation, Kishwaukee Community Hospital, the Douglas C. and Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation and DeKalb Township.
Community Cupboard, located in the Belvidere School District, was the first school-based pantry opened in conjunction with Northern Illinois Food Bank.
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