GENEVA – Northern Illinois Food Bank's mission of feeding the hungry does not take a summer break.
The food bank received some help in that mission on Saturday when teams representing local companies, community organizations, church groups and families competed to pack the most food and raise the most money for the food bank. During the food bank's inaugural "Pack and Give Back" event, about 80 people helped pack bags with meals that the food bank will distribute at nine back-to-school fairs in August.
"It's an event to raise awareness about hunger and help feed our hungry neighbors," said Erik Jacobsen, communications manager for the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
Last year, the Northern Illinois Food Bank distributed 42 million meals to those in need through its network of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and youth and senior centers. The food bank serves 13 counties, including Kane County.
In a span of about two hours, teams packed 4,452 meals. Corey Williams, an employee at the Mercedes Benz dealership in Carol Stream, was a member of the team that packed the most meals – 1,086. Employees from Exelon were also part of his team.
"The fact that we are helping some less fortunate families, it is an honor," Williams said.
Mike Hall, casino shift manager at Hollywood Casino in Aurora, also was happy to lend a hand.
'We're all excited to be here to help out," he said. "It was a fun way to get together. I had a good time."
Hollywood Casino volunteers at Northern Illinois Food Bank two to three times a year, said Melonie Johnson, vice-president of finance for Hollywood Casino in Aurora.
"It is a team building event for us as well as donating back to the community," Johnson said.
More information about Northern Illinois Food Bank is available at the food bank's website, www.solvehungertoday.org.