A ribbon cutting and an open house held Wednesday celebrated Loaves and Fishes Community Services’ new food distribution facility in Aurora that will allow the Naperville nonprofit to help more people facing food insecurity.
The approximately 30,000-square-foot space on Exchange Court will serve as a new hub for anyone in need who lives in Kane and Kendall counties, in addition to DuPage and Will counties.
Significance of the Event
According to Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, “We here in Aurora are thankful for everything that Loaves and Fishes do. We’re thankful for them battling food insecurity every single day to make sure no man, woman, or child ever goes to bed hungry.”
Loaves and Fishes expects the new facility will triple the amount of food the nonprofit is capable of distributing to help those facing food insecurity.
The distribution hub features large refrigeration and freezer units, all of which help Loaves and Fishes to keep healthier food options at its disposal.
According to Loaves and Fishes CEO Mike Havala, “We’re very focused on providing healthy food for our clients. Everyone needs to eat healthy food, but our clients even more so need to eat healthy food because if you are living in poverty and you’re unhealthy, that makes it doubly hard to get out of a low income or poverty type situation.”
The Issue with Hunger
Hunger has long been an issue facing the suburbs. But the challenge with food insecurity is it can manifest itself in different ways than people may imagine. And the COVID-19 pandemic has all but weakened the inequities that exist in some of northern Illinois’ more affluent communities.
According to Havala, “There’s so many people that suffer from food insecurity and you don’t always notice or you don’t always see it, but if you look around you, there’s a lot of people who are working but they cannot earn a living wage. Most of our clients are, in fact, working. Because they can’t earn a living wage to support their family, that means they’re cutting corners. One of the first places that people cut corners on is food. So that means either they don’t have food for some meals or else they’re buying cheaper food which tends to be unhealthy food.”
Havala hopes the new facility will help Loaves and Fishes to leave a larger mark in reducing food insecurity that exists in northern Illinois and is worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among those there for the event were Naperville City Council members Patty Gustin and Benny White, and Aurora Alderwoman Shweta Baid.
The new facility is expected to come on line for food distribution starting Saturday.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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