West Suburban Food Pantry in Woodridge to expand DuPage County reach through $235,000 grant

Funding designed to increase food availability and immigration services

An electrical problem has forced the temporary closing of Pantry Store at the West Suburban Community Pantry in Woodridge. Cash donations are sought to replace food lost. (Courtesy of West Suburban Community Pantry)

West Suburban Community Pantry in Woodridge has received a $235,000 Transformational grant from the DuPage Community Transformation Partnership Fund to support the pantry’s ongoing efforts to increase service to underserved communities including Hispanic, Black and immigrant populations by partnering with other human services organizations in DuPage County and working to break down barriers to nutritious food.

Powered by grant funds, WSCP is partnering with Catholic Charities in Downers Grove to support Catholic Charities clients who have a need for food, according to a news release. Catholic Charities staff will assist them in completing an order through the WSCP Virtual Food Pantry on an iPad provided by WSCP. Orders will be packed and delivered to Catholic Charities for client pickup.

“WSCP’s Virtual Food Pantry, the service allowing people facing hunger to order free groceries online, has allowed us to reach so many neighbors who have immediate needs, as well as those seeking the convenience of the online order,” Suzanne Armato, CEO of West Suburban Community Pantry, said in the release. “Providing iPads and order kiosks in a number of locations in DuPage and Will County, we see the benefits of online ordering reaching many more people who need food, but may not be able to shop our pantry store. We are thrilled to support Catholic Charities in this way.”

In turn, Catholic Charities Immigrant Support Program staff are on-site at the pantry during grocery service to provide customers information on Catholic Charities services and programs including immigration support. Staff also is training pantry personnel and volunteers to share the same information.

Additionally, WSCP is working with the DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform’s Language Access Resource Center to provide translation services for its customers.

“We know that language barriers can greatly reduce a person’s likelihood of seeking food assistance,” Kristin Jachymiak, director of support services for the pantry, said in the release. “Today, Spanish is the No. 1 language spoken by our customers, followed by English, Ukrainian, Russian and Arabic. By working with LARC, we will be able to expand our translation services and provide them over the phone, in person and virtually. We know this is a service our customers need.”

The DuPage Community Transformation Partnership is funded by a grant from the DuPage County Board through the American Rescue Plan Act. The DCTP, a collaboration between DuPage County and DuPage Foundation, supports programs to address some of the community’s most urgent social service needs, including food insecurity, housing instability, mental health and substance use disorder.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois