It’s not your typical topic of conversation at a Saturday lunch with friends, but everyone was talking about local hunger at Loaves and Fishes’ Fourth Annual
“A Day Without Hunger.” Clients of the food pantry, volunteers, and just those interested in the not-for-profit were given the opportunity to eat together.
“It’s a day the whole community can sit down together. Next to the mayor there may be client, members and volunteers. It’s a day to lift up each other and celebrate community togetherness,” said Charles McLimans, Executive Director of Loaves and Fishes.
The event served as reminder of the growing hunger problem in the community. With the number of people using the food pantry up 29 percent from last year and nearly half the clients being children, Executive Director Charles McLimans hoped the day created awareness about local hunger.
“It’s about building awareness in the community, celebrating community spirit, and working together to end hunger,” said McLimans.
Some of Loaves and Fishes partners in the “Pathway to Empowerment” program were on hand to give out information. The program began in February and is a partnership between local agencies and businesses that address the issues related to poverty. Some of the groups in attendance were Community Career Center, Literacy DuPage, and Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center.
“We’re all here as other non profits to collaborate with them as part of their
“Pathways to Empowerment” program,” said Scott Mitchell, Executive Director of the Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center. “So we are all out doing our thing but our clients are coming to them for food. Thus this is a great way to come with services to support them.”
Those in attendance took advantage of the rare gathering of the groups by learning about the different programs and how to better our community.
“They are handing out a lot of info on free programs,” said Naperville resident Keith Walker. “Stuff on insurance and health programs. Just a bunch of information to better help the community.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of people being served here,” said Oswego resident Lynda Devore. “They say over 5000 people are being served. That was a striking statistic to me to learn that so many people don’t have food.”
“I think one of things you learn about is what they are doing outside of just getting people food,” said Naperville resident Scott Sweeney. “We aren’t just learning about the group getting us food, but they are a hub of information for other things as well. They help us get food as well as information.”
The event was a fun way to learn about serious problems in the community. After learning about local hunger, those in attendance were encouraged to take their first steps of action by having their pictures taken. The pictures will be made into a mosaic that will be displayed at Loaves and Fishes. It will represent each person’s dedication to the Loaves and Fishes community, a community trying to end local hunger.
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