Morrison has seen needs jump 15 percent a year since 2007 as the West Deerfield Township Food Pantry helps more than 200 people a month in Deerfield, Lake Forest and Highland Park.
“We’ve always had our seniors but we’ve had a lot more families lately,” Morrison said in December. Though any township resident whose income is below three times the national poverty rate (of $20,000 per year) qualifies, Morrison said she goes out of her way to help.
“If someone comes in here and really needs help, we won’t turn them away,” Morrison said. “We’re here to give some hope to those who really need it.”
Dold got a firsthand look at facilities that help the hungry Monday, including a stop at the ARK Food Pantry in Northbrook which meets the needs of those who need kosher food.
“Hunger is a need that knows no zip code,” Dold said. “All too often people are having a difficult time making ends meet because they are unemployed or underemployed. With rising food prices and tightening family budgets, food pantries are seeing an increase.”
The ARK, a large Jewish social service organization that helps those in need throughout the Chicago area, opened its pantry in Northbrook recently because it realized its reach had to go beyond the city to the suburbs, according to Executive Director Marc Swatez.
“We have witnessed the unfortunate spread of poverty in the Jewish community, first in Chicago and now in the suburbs,” Swatez said. “The number of people turning to The ARK for help has increased by about five percent each year for the past several years. Approximately one-third of these clients live in the north or northwest suburbs.”
The ARK Northwest has served 400 clients from 150 families by providing food, rent and utility assistance, and prescription medications, as well as transportation to the medical, dental, and eye clinics at The ARK’s main location in Chicago, according to Swatez.