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Feeding Our Neighbors in Need

Once a month, I volunteer at a soup kitchen. As the President & CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank, I find this work fun and soul-filling. One recent evening at the soup kitchen, I met a man in a brown shirt. He looked a little tired, but had a big smile on his face. His shirt caught my eye. In yellow letters, the faded brown shirt said, “I’m kind of a big deal.”

I couldn’t agree more.

At Northern Illinois Food Bank, we want everyone in our community to know that they matter. Every single person in our community is precious, loved and deserves every opportunity to thrive. We’re committed to making sure that everyone feels they are, as that man’s shirt put it, “a big deal.” We embrace the perspective that everyone is welcome and deserving of a full plate and full belly, a full pantry and a community that fully cares for one another – no matter what their circumstance.

Northern Illinois Food Bank’s mission is to solve hunger by providing nutritious meals to those in need through innovative programs and partnerships. We work hard day in and day out to ensure every hungry neighbor has access to every meal, every day.

A great example of an innovative partnership is the recent food packing event led by Wendy Davidson, President of Kellogg U.S. Specialty Channels. On July 19, Wendy brought 241 team members to our Food Bank where they sorted and packaged 42,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables, totaling 35,366 meals for hungry neighbors – a truly impressive feat! This was the largest volunteer shift in our Food Bank’s history and the team greatly surpassed our previous records for total pounds of food packaged.

Along with their generous donation of time, Wendy also presented us with a wonderful financial donation of $10,000 on behalf of Kellogg Company as part of their Breakfasts for Better Days global corporate platform addressing food insecurity. We’re incredibly grateful for Kellogg’s generosity and commitment to helping feed hungry neighbors across Northern Illinois.

When I think about making sure that our neighbors in need feel like they matter and that they are a big deal, I’m even more grateful that an iconic company such as Kellogg would, through actions and donations, reinforce that community-led initiatives are a big deal when it comes to fighting hunger. In fact, Kellogg has donated more than 3.5 million pounds of food to Northern Illinois Food Bank (totaling 2.9 million meals), as well as more than $57,000 in financial support (worth $460,000 in groceries) in just the past five years for our hungry neighbors.

To learn more about how you can get involved in helping solve hunger in your community, visit to find the food bank nearest you. And remember, no matter where you live and work, every dollar and hour spent working to feed people is needed and greatly appreciated. The only way we will solve hunger is if we all work together to lift up our own communities and take time to remind each individual that they are a very big deal.

With gratitude,
Julie Yurko
President & CEO, Northern Illinois Food Bank

Kellogg Specialty Channels Volunteers Sorting and Packing Fresh Apples and Sweet Potatoes