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Community swaps guitars, donations for Elmhurst food pantry

ELMHURST — This month's fundraiser at Fitz's Spare Keys was a testament to the generosity of Elmhurst residents, said Jacki Lawrence, coordinator for the Elmhurst/Yorkfield Food Pantry.

Fitz's Spare Keys hosted a musical instrument swap meet on April 6, where residents brought in their old guitars, microphones and other instruments in exchange for helping the local food pantry. For admittance, guests brought in a donation of a non-perishable food, sealed personal hygiene items or cash.

Lawrence said the pantry received more than 400 pounds in food and other items, in addition to about $250 cash.

"It's hard to put on paper how much that's going to help families, but it will go a long way," she said.

For the past eight years, Lawrence has run the Elmhurst/Yorkfield Food Pantry, 1083 S. York St. in Elmhurst. It serves 300 families a month, helping those living in Elmhurst, Addison, Bensenville, Lombard, Oak Brook, Villa Park, Hillside and Berkeley.

Families can shop for food from the pantry as often as once a month. The pantry is funded completely by donations and staffed by volunteers, distributing food to clients three days a week, 52 weeks a year.

Mike Sutter, general manager of Fitz's Spare Keys, said he was happy that about 150 people attended the fundraiser. The business likes to give back to the community, hosting many fundraisers throughout the year, but this was the first guitar swap meet paired with a food drive.

"I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout," Sutter said. "We do everything from Relay For Life to family fundraisers. It's unlimited, and we can do parties from 20 to 500 people."

Lawrence called the Fitz's Spare Keys event "unique," and the pantry is looking forward to its next drive in a couple weeks by Elmhurst College, where students often contribute a couple thousand pounds of food and items for donation.

"If we didn't have those food drives, we wouldn't have the food pantry — or it wouldn't be the way it is now," Lawrence said.

If you have a large donation or would like to arrange a food drive, call Lawrence at 708-254-1741. More information also can be found on the Yorkfield Presbyterian Church website at

Fitz's Spare Keys is located at 119 N. York Road in Elmhurst. For information, call 630-379-5007.

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