How The Pantry Works
The Day Of
About 30-60 minutes before the food pantry opens the volunteers arrive. Last minute directions are given to those volunteering in the different areas inside the food pantry to go over what is available to give out that day; paper grocery bags are are filled with various items for that day’s distribution; volunteers registering patrons are at their stations; and parking lot attendants are preparing to open the parking lot.
Hours We Are Open
During the times we are open there is non-stop action. It begins when the Food Pantry parking lot and registration/check-in area are readied for our ‘customers’. They open one half hour before the pantry distribution begins. Patrons are shown where to park by our parking lot attendants.
Patrons enter the church, are welcomed, and are given a numbered ticket. They then proceed to the registration/check-in area where they can wait in a warm and dry place until the pantry opens. Each patron is called by number to the desk where they present their ID and are given a computer generated ticket that tells the pantry distribution team their name and number of people in the family.
Patrons then return to their cars, drive across the parking lot to the food pantry and present their ticket to a member of the distribution team who takes a bag already filled with the items being distributed for that day and places it in their car. Then the patron is all set to drive out of the parking lot.
Behind The Scenes
During the week volunteers pick up food early in the morning from donor stores and from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Upon arriving back at the food pantry they begin to unload the boxes, sort through the various items donated, and stock the shelves, refrigerators and freezers. We have separate areas for bread, sweets, fresh vegetables and dry goods. Refrigerators hold fresh produce, fruit, milk products, and other deli items. Separate freezers hold meat and other items that can be frozen. Items are prebagged as much as possible the day before distribution to make it easier on the day of distribution.