OAK PARK RIVER FOREST FOOD PANTRY

Rating: 4.91 stars   56 reviews

Issues: Food

Location: 848 Lake St Oak Park IL 60301 USA

Mission:

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I offered to join the board because of my interest in and work in food. I assumed a new 501(c)3 organization would need board members. I then started volunteering on distributions, food rescue and deliveries. Now, as vice president, I help recruit new members to the board. The pantry is a great agency with a dedicated staff and hundreds of volunteers. Our clients are well-served and treated with dignity.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I am a board member and occasional volunteer. I have been impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers and their genuine empathy for the clients. The client choice model is efficient and affirming.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I see the results in the expressions of gratitude from clients, some very moving.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The pantry could use more money because they leverage it so well - 11 x.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

I started coming with my teen-agers for service credit. It was such a great experience, that I now attend without them. But it is a very popular place to volunteer, so plan ahead in case there are too many staffed volunteers that same day! It is a lovely, dignified exchange between volunteers and clients.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...the gratitude expressed by both staff and clients.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

increase the size and space of the pantry.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

OPRF Food Pantry is one of the best pantries in Cook County, now serving 1400 families every month. The pantry offers full, client-choice service to its clients, along with nutrition programs, benefits counseling, and food stamp (SNAP) application assistance. The staff and volunteers are inspiring people--working consistently above and beyond the call to provide superior service to our client base. The pantry serves not just the near west suburbs, but most of the west side of the city, and counts on hundreds of individual donors. But we need more support, especially from our corporate and foundation partners, to keep our services strong.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Initiating client choice operations, resulting in greater client satisfaction and less food waste Implementing the agency's strategic plan Reducing hunger via increased benefit counseling and food stamp application assistance--direct result of AmeriCorps volunteer

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Win the lottery, and endow the pantry so it could move to a new facility--we are bursting at the seams.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I moved to Oak Park this apst summer and was thrilled to get involved in the community by volunteering at the Food Pantry. The other volunteers are so much fun to work with, and it is a joy to serve our clients.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Seeing the clients benefit from our services.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to expand our client's choice.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I am proud to be a volunteer with and donor to the OPRF Food Pantry becuase it addresses a basic need for many area families in an efficient and respectful manner.

The OPRF Food Pantry leverages its resources extremely well in the following ways:

- Clients can select their food just as in a supermarket, receiving meat, dairy, fresh and canned vegetables and fruit, pasta, PB&J, snack foods and toiletries.
- Information about other forms of assistance is provided to clients, as well as dietary and menu planning help
- Pantry offerings are efficiently procured by leveraging funds for food purchases from the USDA and Greater Chicago Food Depository, 'rescuing' day-old (but still perfectly fine!) produce and baked goods from area grocery stores and taking in food donations
- The Pantry is effectively overseen by a volunteer Board and small paid staff, who coordinate all the operations and recruit/organize a large stable of volunteers

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Helping unload deliveries and organizing goods so that client distribution processes go as smoothly as possible

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find some way to expand the physical space

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

web- or other mode of being able to trade volunteer spots with another person if I need to cancel a time I'd signed up for

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Meet other people who I wouldn't otherwise cross paths with

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

fulfilled, but wishing the need for the Pantry's services was lessening instead of increasing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

me a satisfying sense of doing something specific to assist. I plan to volunteer as long as I am able.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my interaction with clients.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Move to larger dedicated space, and add additional services.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I worked at the Food Pantry for a number of years before joining the Board. I agreed to joi the Board because OPRF Food Pantry is not only providing an absolutely needed service in the community, it does it with caring, friendliness and the ability to make each guest comfortable. The expansion of the Client Choice program is an example of how the OPRF Food Pantry team looks to take any stigma out of needing to use the Pantry. Kathy Russell and her team are absolutely the best!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

helping meet the needs of the community by providing quality food and services.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

provide it with a larger space so that it can provide more food and meet the growing need.

Rating: 5 stars  

This is a very organized group and personally very rewarding to volunteer for. The new shoppers choice system is so excellent as the food recipients are treated as if in a grocery store with a choice of items . This system is more dignified for the recipients. Also with this shoppers choice system I think there is less wasted food as in the past many people received food they couldn't use (due to allergies or diabetes, etc.). Sometimes now a person will just bypass the fruit (for example) if they cannot take the sugar. As a vlounteer you are slotted in a spot when you arrive and become productive right away. There is sufficient training for new volunteers also.

I also enjoy the seasonal give-aways of turkeys or hams with the lottery. My only complaint is that some recipients didn't know they had received the ham/turkey (via lottery). I am not sure if it is the food pantry's fault but a number of people came who did NOT receive the ham/turkey and also many whose names were drawn did NOT show up. Volunteers were on the phone calling those who had not shown up at the last minute. I am not sure how to improve the lottery process.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen many homeless or underemployed people receive food and it is very rewarding. These people are very grateful. The organization is so well run. There are numerous activites to be involved in depending on your interest and time availiblity. Also, my daughter has volunteered monthly in the food distribution program and has become very empathetic to the plight of the underemplyed/homeless.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Figure out a better way to notify the "lottery" recipients of turkeys and hams.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

Nice people in need. Nice people who volunteer. Sorry, I think that says it all.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

By seeing the smiles on those receiving food.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help find a slightly larger facility.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My daughter and I love volunteering at the OPRF Food Pantry. Everyone is so friendly, warm, caring and fun to be around! We enjoy meeting the clients and sharing a smile. This pantry is so well-organized, so well-run, it's just unbelievable. I have also referred some people to use the pantry as clients and they come back to me with glowing reports. This is a real gem of our community. Keep up the good work!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

People find affirmation and support, as well as food for their tables. The volunteers who assist in the Walk-In Ministry also provide many needed services and referral.s

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the number of financial donors, so it can continue to grow and thrive.

Review from Guidestar

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