During the COVID-19 pandemic, Loaves & Fishes has seen a surge in those needing help. The last two weeks have seen an increase in the number of clients seeking food (February saw an average of 787 families a week; last week, they served nearly 1,000.) Just this past Thursday alone, they served 435 families. At their Bolingbrook location, the number of people seeking help nearly tripled in just a two-week period.
Every client is receiving approximately 100 pounds of food at each visit. With over 300 families coming each time, they are giving about 30,000 pounds of food out at each distribution.
During this time, Loaves & Fishes is also providing food for other nonprofit partners focused on those who are homeless. Additionally, they continue to make home deliveries to low-income senior centers; these are some of the most isolated clients.
Loaves & Fishes has adapted its grocery delivery model to offer curbside delivery during this unprecedented time. This modified system uses less people to keep clients, volunteers, and staff as safe as possible. To abide by CDC guidelines and the State of Illinois mandates, they have had to reduce the number of volunteers in the building by about 80%. The streamlined process (curbside delivery, pre-packed boxes, and food that requires minimal sorting or processing) allows them to serve the greatest number of people possible in the most efficient manner.
Loaves & Fishes relies on local grocery partners for its food rescue program. Due to the surging demand on grocery stores and processing changes, Loaves & Fishes is experiencing a significant reduction in this food supply. Additionally, they are unable to accept physical food donations now as they require many people to process, which they cannot safely do in accordance with the CDC guidelines.
The need is increasing daily, and they continue to meet these needs through the support of the community. How you can help:
Virtual Food Drive: It allows you to purchase the most needed items directly through their website. It takes 60 seconds and can be done from the comfort and safety of your home. Donate to the Virtual Food Drive by visiting www.loaves-fishes.org
Donations: Your donations are always deeply appreciated. These funds provide vital support in the efforts to help struggling families. Donations can be made at www.loaves.fishes.org or mailed to 1871 High Grove Lane, Naperville, IL 60540.
“We appreciate the support we have received recently from a number of people in our community. We are grateful for your generosity,” says Mike Havala, CEO of Loaves & Fishes Community Services.