Crest Hill to host pop-up food pantry at City Hall

Volunteers for the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry's pop-up pantry event in Crest Hill in October 2023.

Crest Hill — Crest Hill Alderwoman Claudia Gazal will be hosting a pop-up food pantry with the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry on Saturday, March 2 at the Crest Hill City Hall.

The pantry hosts mobile events throughout Will, Kendall, Kane, DuPage, and DeKalb counties which function like drive-throughs.

The pantry’s team brings a truck of food to a designated parking lot and sets up their supplies before residents drive up and have the groceries loaded into their vehicles.

The event in Crest Hill is specifically targeted at families with children and will include many staple products and kid-friendly snacks.

“We want to give families a little boost in the food they have at home,” said Becky Dunnigan, Community Impact manager at the Interfaith Food Pantry. “We bring things like frozen meat, pasta and pasta sauce, bread, eggs, peanut butter and jelly, pancake mix and syrup, and everybody gets a snack bag with things like beef sticks, tuna, and ramen noodles.”

The pantry supplies food for about 100 families as well as supplies like detergent and soaps. The pantry is first-come-first-served, and while the event is scheduled to run between 12 and 2 p.m., Dunnigan noted that the events often see people arriving to get in line early.

“There is a lot of need in the community, especially in the last two years with inflation,” said Gazal, who got involved with the pop-up pantry through her church in 2020. “I wanted to do something for the community beyond politics. We do this twice a year now, but a goal of mine is to do it more often, or to do days for seniors as well as for families.”

While the event is aimed at Crest Hill residents, Gazal said she has seen families from Joliet in line at previous events, where she attends as a volunteer.

“It is mostly for Crest Hill, but whoever we can help, that meets our goal,” said Gazal. “It is always nice to see the smiles on the kids’ faces and hear families thanking volunteers.”

“The event is always well received in Crest Hill,” said Dunnigan. “We never worry about not going through all our product. We actually had to stop early last time because we went through everything our truck could hold so quickly.”

If families are unable to attend or need additional assistance, the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry also has a permanent, brick-and-mortar location at 1110 Jericho Road in Aurora, which is open to families in its five covered counties on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the third Tuesday of each month, the pantry is also open from 2 to 6 p.m.

Families are permitted one shopping trip to the pantry per week and the organization serves about 1,000 families each week.

The past few Crest Hill events have been held at the White Oak Library, since the City Hall was under construction, however, Gazal said the March event will be back at City Hall at 20600 City Center Boulevard.