As has become tradition with the CALL Community Service Committee, this February we collected donations to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. At the February Business Meeting, we collected several grocery bags of food donations and $203 in cash donations. Combined with the generous donations made through our virtual food drive, CALL members gave a total of $576.58. Why such an usual total? The food bank’s Virtual Food Drive provided an opportunity for donors to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, protein, and dairy for the food depository to distribute through its large network of agency partners throughout the city. Donors were able to purchase items such as a case of canned tuna ($23.48), a case of 9 gallons of milk ($13.64), or 50 lbs. of carrots ($26.50).
In addition to the financial support provided to the food depository, a group of dedicated CALL volunteers spent an afternoon at their warehouse helping repack food donations for distribution. Todd Ito, Julie Swanson, Beth Schubert, Scott Vanderlin, Patricia Scott, John Gorman, Nan Norton, Clare Willis and I joined a group of 120 other volunteers from all across the city on Saturday afternoon, March 3. Some of the other volunteer groups were put to work repackaging bulk grains and beans into small quantities for easier distribution at the agency’s partner food banks. Another group was assigned the task of labeling cans of pears that the food depository was able to purchase in bulk at a discount but did not have any labels.
The CALL volunteers received the plum task of bagging fresh produce for distribution. Specifically, we were taking pears from bulk bins and repackaging them into small mesh produce bags. But that description doesn’t convey how fun it was to sort through massive piles of fruit while wearing hair nets, plastic gloves, and aprons! The Food Depository staff kept us laughing with their jokes and provided an awesome soundtrack to make the afternoon fly by. We had a great time!
More importantly, the group of volunteers helped the Food Depository repackage a massive amount of food, which meant that hundreds of families benefited from our few hours of service. In total, our group packaged 2,688 bags of rice, 13,895 lbs. of fresh pears, and 10,461 cans of pear halves, totaling 32,420 lbs. of food donations to be distributed throughout Cook County.
On behalf of the CALL Community Service Committee and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, THANK YOU to everyone who donated.