GRAYSLAKE -- It’s a need permeating through every corner of Lake County. The need for food.
“It’s a cross section of society,” Northern Illinois Food Bank Pop-Up Market manager Mike Keane said in a news release. “There’s no trend of a certain gender, race, creed or color that comes to mind when I look out at all the cars lined up.”
According to Feeding America, the level of food insecurity across the 13 counties served by Northern Illinois Food Bank could increase by 70 percent through December. The Food Bank is trying to address the growing need with their Pop-Up Markets and partnership with College of Lake County. Similar to its mobile pantry program but on a larger scale, the Pop-Up Markets bring those vital resources out into the communities the Food Bank serves. No identification is needed, no proof of need is required, and a new location is coming.
“We’re here to help them stretch their dollars,” Keane said. “If they don’t have to spend money at a grocery store, maybe now they can buy prescriptions, help their kid get school supplies or pay an electric bill.”
CLC Vice President of Community and Workforce Partnerships Ali O’Brien describes how happy the college is to help. “This is a really unique opportunity for us to help our residents who may not be students but are still important to us because they contribute to the local economy. They’re working and living in Lake County and we’re here to help support those needs as well.”
Beginning Tuesday, Oct. 20, College of Lake County will serve as a second Lake County location to host a biweekly Pop-Up Market. Each family that comes through during the 2 to 5 p.m. distribution will receive about 50 pounds of food, including protein, produce, dairy and milk (when available). This can be considered a godsend for students at the college who previously took advantage of the school’s SHARE Market, an on-campus food pantry that has been closed since March.
“We know our students have immediate needs in terms of food security,” O’Brien said. “By hosting this event at one of our campuses, even though most of our students are not attending in an in-person capacity right now, we’re still a known location. We’re convenient for many of them who had already worked their lives around coming to campus.”
The Pop-Up Market will take place in Parking Lot 5 on the southeast side of the college, accessible off Lancer Lane. Though Tuesday will be the first Pop-Up at College of Lake County, it won’t be the last. The partnership will run at least through the end of 2020 and provide food to about 1,500 families each week.
“One of the great things about the college is we focus on the needs of our students, staff and faculty and we also consider ourselves in the larger context of the entire community of Lake County. This partnership with the food bank really helps address needs of all of those stakeholders,” O’Brien said.
Volunteers are still needed to staff this and future pop-up markets. To sign up for a shift, visit www.SolveHungerToday.org/Volunteer, or call 630-443-6910.
Who: Anyone in need of food assistance; no identification required
What: Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Pop-Up Market
Where: College of Lake County, Parking Lot 5 – entrance off of Lancer Lane
When: Tuesday Oct. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m., and every two weeks thereafter, through December 2020
Why: To provide about 50 pounds of food to about 1,500 families each week