Food bank hosts free grocery giveaway Saturday

Pop-Up Mobile Market expected to provide groceries to 1,000 households

More than 100 volunteers from Northwestern Medicine came out to the Northern Illinois Food Bank's Geneva location to pack up donations on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024. Northwestern Medicine donated $200,000 across area food banks including three NIL food bank locations — Geneva, Joliet and Lake Forest — and the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

GENEVA – The Northern Illinois Food Bank in Geneva is hosting a free grocery distribution from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, to meet a rising need for food, according to a news release.

The USDA reports that food insecurity is at the highest level since 2014. The Northern Illinois Food Bank’s network of 900 food pantries, soup kitchens and feeding programs is serving on average 560,000 neighbors every month. This is 85,000 more than last year, and double pre-pandemic, according to the release.

“We believe the increase in neighbors coming to us is due to inflation, pandemic-era benefits ending, rising cost of food, and increased awareness of the Food Bank and our network,” Maeven Sipes said in the release. Sipes is chief philanthropy officer.

Cars will line up to receive the free groceries from two semi-trucks, accounting for 1,000 households, according to the release.

Everyone who needs groceries is welcome. No ID, proof of income, or referral is needed. Food is distributed in a drive-thru model, first come, first served, while supplies last.

More than 70 volunteers will be distributing the common grocery items, such as meat, produce, non-perishables and other products.

Called a Pop-up Mobile Market, the event is a free grocery distribution in a community for a short period of time to help neighbors get food they need.

The Food Bank launched this distribution model to provide additional means for giving away food in high-need communities.