How You Can Help Families in Your Area

Whether you live in Naperville or Davenport Iowa, one of the nicest things about communities it the help available for those families who need finical support.  That’s can be from individual local charities like Loaves and Fishes, governmental programs such as LIHEAP,   or individual business offering assistance to families is such as the heating and cooling company (Best Heating and Air) I found giving away a free furnace, a local Naperville online marketing company (www.YourLocalLead.com) collecting funds to help local families or a local carpet cleaning service (www.carpetcleaninginnaperville.com) donating profits towards helping needy families.

Everyone can admit by now that this economy is tough.  The economy has been so bad these past eight years that the “actual” unemployment rate is somewhere near 17.5%.   This higher and unreported rate takes in account the people looking for work but are not on workmen compensation.  A personal friend of mine who is an engineer has been laid off three times.  Situations like this cause difficulties when a person cannot collect unemployment because that did not work long enough between jobs to qualify for the benefits.

In quest for helping a friend, I researched the area, here in Naperville, for finical or other help, for the said family in need.  I found a local food pantry, catholic on non-religious charities, governmental programs and small business that want to help.

grocerybagclear-232x300The biggest food pantry in the area is Loaves and Fishes (www.Loaves-fishes.org). The panty comes highly recommended by all the charities and is known as the best around.  I did do some personal research myself y going to that pantry with my friend not only to help her but to sum up the place myself a sort of secret shopper if you will.

The actual location of the facility is in an industrial park.  The address is 1871 High Grove Lane, Naperville, Illinois 60540.  The phone number is 630-355-3663.

The facility was very nice.  As you walk in the atmosphere is inviting and organized and the best part is that the people working there are extremely nice and non-judgmental. As far as a charity goes A++ in that department.  The last thing that someone needs when they are down is judgment from someone else.  This is something that is very important for and individuals’ feelings who is going through a difficult situation. My friend seeking help has been on an emotional roller coaster not only with unsupportive family but with other charities who assert that you are incompetent based on the present situation.

That was a tremendous eye-opener to me.   The feeling that an unemployed person goes through are a title wave of emotions of guilt, regret, lack of confidence and self-worth.  When having to ask someone for help is an absolute, it is a relief when no judgment or expectations are attached.

I was told that the food pantry was upgraded and arranged in a new fashion.  I do not know what the food pantry was previously like but I can report on the experience that I had.   After the formal registering at the front lobby, you are directed to the small warehouse where the food and items are kept on display shelves.

You are given a grocery cart and directions how to choose the items on the shelves.  So far so good.  You are herded in a single file line through the aisles of the warehouse choosing items off the shelves that you would like.  Each item has an assigned value to them and the individual is not allowed to go over their assign value for each designated area.   Workers or volunteers are stationed at the ends of the aisle to make sure you are on track and not choosing over your allotment.

There are different sections such as canned goods, household supplies (limited), boxed food, fresh vegetables (if you can call them fresh), frozen meet area and the bread area.  For the most part, the volunteers were helpful in making sure you are not over the allotment but tried pushing thing on you that you necessarily did not want….

The charity receives its donations from local business like Whole Foods, Jewel, fresh market.  It also receives food from local food drives.   So the source of what they can offer is dependent on the inventory they receive.

You get what you pay for.  The food you receive is ok.  You need to remember that this is for people that need desperate help.  The fresh vegetables are half gone.  On the freshness scale, they are very ripe to rotten.  Yes, I have heard how great the food pantry is and that they offer fresh vegetables but what I saw was literally the bottom of the barrel stuff.  Not saying it Loaves & Fishes fault, Its just what the receive from the stores to offer.

Most of the canned goods were expired.  What you should take from this article is that the next time there is a food drive in your area for the local pantry, please go to the grocery store and buy some fresh goods to donate to the charity.   People actually need to eat these things.

Frozen/fresh meat……. Be careful.  What was given to us was very questionable.  The fish smelled soo bad that if for sure was contaminated and had to be tossed into the trash.  There is now way someone should risk salmonella poisoning.

Bread was plentiful.  I think we ended up with eight or so loaves of bread.  I noticed that some of the bread came from local bakeries and were very nice.

I’m sure that the selection and quantity of the foods offered at the pantry varied considerably depending on the local donations.  It is up to us, yes you the reader, to help these local charities like Loaves & Fishes and donate with fresh food or money so they can provide food.    I am in no way associated with any of these organizations.  I just wanted to help get the word out and in some small way help other in the way that I can.