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Community Stories

8 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Everyone on staff is laser-focused on fulfilling the mission, and they do it in the most professional and compassionate way. Clients who visit the Pantry go away with almost 50 pounds of protein rich, nutrient dense food and their dignity intact. It is a pleasure to be associated with an organization so effectively engaged in helping our neighbors in need.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

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!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry for about 1 year as a board member. At first I knew almost nothing about food insecurity, who used food pantries or how they operated. My first meeting with staff opened my eyes and I instantly saw a group of dedicated professionals who work diligently and compassionately to serve and educate the families in need. Even though the Pantry has seen demand double in the last two years, you wouldn't know it from watching a food distribution. Our clients receive the same amount of food and have seen an improvement with more fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, dairy and meat, thanks to our successful fundraising efforts and a service volunteer dedicated soley to "gleaning" food from area supermarkets and the local farmer's markets. We provide that food using a more dignified "client choice" model, allowing our clients to choose their own food, a much more satisfying way to provide hunger relief for us volunteers. We offer nutritional informaton, including sample recipes using food available at the Pantry, at every distribution. And there's a dedicated staff person, an Americorps worker, who helps people apply for SNAP benefits. We do all of this with a small, dedicated staff and about 700 volunteers in a space not much bigger than a two-car garage and a bare-bones budget. I have been involved with a number of nonprofits in my community and I have rarely seen a nonprofit run as efficiently and effectively as this one. I am proud to be associated with the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.

Review from Guidestar

Wendy E.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry for about 5 years now, first as a distribution volunteer and now as a board member. The Pantry has seen demand skyrocket over the last three years -- the number of individuals we serve annually has increased from 24,000 in 2008 to 48,500 in 2010 -- but you wouldn't know it from watching a food distribution. Our clients receive the same amount of food today as they would have three years ago. Actually, our clients get better food today than they did back in 2008: more fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, dairy and meat, thanks to our successful fundraising efforts and a service volunteer dedicated soley to "gleaning" food from area supermarkets and the local farmer's markets. We provide that food using a more dignified "client choice" model, allowing our clients to choose their own food, a much more satisfying way to provide hunger relief for us volunteers. We offer nutritional informaton, including sample recipes using food available at the Pantry, at every distribution. And there's a dedicated staff person, an Americorps worker, who helps people apply for SNAP benefits. We do all of this with a small, dedicated staff and about 700 volunteers in a space not much bigger than a two-car garage and a bare-bones budget. I have been involved with a number of nonprofits in my community and I have rarely seen a nonprofit run as efficiently and effectively as this one. I am proud to be associated with the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Food Pantry provides hunger relief to over 28 zip codes in Chicago and the western suburbs which includes some of the regions most depleted neighborhoods. My husband and I began volunteering with the Food Pantry along with our children as a way to get involved in our community. I became a Board Member as I learned more about the Food Pantry's efficient operation, stalwart leadership and broader mission to connect the hungry to additional support services, provide educational programs in the community and advocate on behalf of hunger-related issues. This is a tremendous organization.

Review from Guidestar