Woodridge, IL–Recent studies have shown that 70% of people who need food don’t come to a food pantry due to lack of transportation, pride, or time. Before the pandemic, nearly 30,000 people were living in poverty in the Chicagoland communities served by West Suburban Community Pantry. For the past year, the Pantry has been executing a plan to address accessibility with a goal of doubling the number of people it can serve. The $600,000 Access 2020 initiative seeks to increase access while maintaining dignity and privacy for families and individuals in need. Now a matching donation from the Perma-Seal Community Fund with the DuPage Foundation seeks to close the funding gap caused by the COVID- 19 crisis.

“We were well on our way to completing our campaign and initiating new approaches to beating food insecurity,” says Laura Coyle, Executive Director of the Pantry. “When COVID-19 hit, we were forced to slow construction plans and our Access 2020 fundraising as we shifted to preparing pre-boxed food to safely meet the soaring demand for help. While the demand has continued to grow, our volunteers and staff have served the people coming to the Pantry, as well as some mobile sites and our In-School Pantry in Romeoville. But we still have a gap in funding to complete our Access 2020 plan and offer access to an ever-growing population in need.”

“This match supports our effort to close the gap by March 31,” says Coyle. “This means that every contribution we receive toward our goal before the end of March will  be doubled by the Perma-Seal Community Fund with the DuPage Foundation up to $30,000. We could not be more grateful to Perma-Seal for supporting this final push. We know our community supports our efforts to feed our neighbors in need, and now is a critical time to help us.”

The Access 2020 plan offers online ordering and remote delivery so clients can choose the food they want privately and conveniently and pick it up in a location close to their home or work. It expands the Pantry’s Woodridge warehouse, increases order fulfillment space, and adds online order curbside pick-up to the facility. Renovations also enhance the on-site Pantry Store, private intake offices and classroom space for nutrition and resource classes.

“The Perma-Seal Community Fund with the DuPage Foundation seeks to support solutions that address root cause issues to ‘break the cycle’ says Laura Ann Spencer, Executive Vice President of Perma-Seal.  “Not only is West Suburban Community Pantry on a mission to break down barriers to food access but they are also focusing on programs to educate and empower families by addressing their whole health needs. These programs are completely in alignment with our foundation’s focus…(they) will indeed help break the cycle of food insecurity. We are both grateful and humbled by the hard work of our team.  Their efforts, coupled with our model of elevating humanity through business, allows us to support organizations in need in this way. We are thrilled to support WSCP’s efforts with this match donation and hope this inspires other small, local businesses like ours to find ways to do the same.”