H.A.M. on Hunger Social Media Challenge

1 in 4 people struggle with hunger in our community and may not know where they’ll find their next meal. Hunger affects many people across northern Illinois, including those who work full-time jobs, disabled individuals, veterans, seniors and children. Half of the people we serve are seniors and children.

We invite you to take the H.A.M. on Hunger Challenge by committing to posting about #foodinsecurity once a day or something orange on your 24-hour social media story since orange is the color for Hunger Action Month. 

We are just looking for people to take action – whether it be a volunteer shift, a social media post, or a donation – to help end hunger one action at a time. 

Learn More

AAIFP on NBC Chicago News

Today was St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of our drive-thru food distribution operation. Chris Coffey NBC Chicago came out to cover COVID-19’s impact on hunger. We normally serve an average of 300 families per distribution day, today we served 407.

If you live or work on Route 31 or Jericho Road, then you may have spotted NBC Chicago Sky 5 🚁 flying above our drive-thru pantry today!

March Fundraiser

This March, launch a “Facebook Fundraiser” for the Pantry! You will be surprised how quickly you can raise much needed revenue for our organization. Participation is easy and all you need is a Facebook account. 

1. Create a Facebook Post. Here is a sample that you can cut and paste into your own account

Help Me Feed the Hungry! January, February and March are the most difficult months for the Pantry. As many of you know, we feed over 113,000 people a year from 6 counties in Illinois (40% of those we feed are children). In the “winter” months – giving drops dramatically and it becomes very “tight” for our mission. During this time of year – even the smallest gift can help. Would you please consider helping me to feed hungry families from your local community? Even better, would you please consider hosting your own “Facebook Fundraiser” to support this important program that cares for so many? Just copy and paste this post – and challenge your friends and family to help feed the hungry. Even a $5 gift matters. Together – we can make a difference in the lives of thousands of people.

My goal is to raise $250 by March 31st. Can you help me get there? 

1. Click the “Support Nonprofit” button and type in Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry
2. Add a Picture (Posts with Pictures always get more traffic than posts that don’t).
3. Re-share your fundraising post every 3 days with a friendly reminder about your goal. 
4. Use the Facebook “Direct Messenger” feature to message your contacts and encourage them to get involved. 
 
Keep track of how much you raise during the month of March and let us know the total amount so we can send an update out to all fundraiser participants! 

Mural & Art Gallery Grand Reveal

Aurora Food Pantry has been blessed by the arts community this winter ❄️ Local artist, Fisk Garcia, painted a mural inside of our market that was in dire need of color. VizoArts, a nonprofit supporting the arts, donated a permanent art gallery installation in our Kidz Korner. We invite you to join us in satisfying another kind of hunger – that of the soul. Here at the Aurora Food Pantry, we aren’t just feeding people, we’re feeding souls.

Mural in the Market

A former client of the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry has created something special to brighten up the facility he used to visit.

Aurora artist Fisk Garcia, who once needed the services of the pantry, wanted to do something to give back to the facility, and so he painted a mural on the cinder block walls of its distribution room.

The pantry’s Communications and Grant Manager Maureen McGuire said the mural was just the answer staff was looking for after talking to other muralists and finding that the cost of such a project would be too expensive.

“We’ve been looking to have a mural back in the distribution room for some time in order to enhance what is a dull, gray space which we think can be grim, and when we talked to other muralists, we found out the cost was too much,” McGuire said. “We spoke with Mr. Garcia about it and he was happy to do it.”

McGuire said the artist worked on the project “for about six to eight weeks” and that he would often come in late at night or on weekends.

“This was something we talked about doing about four to five months back as we’ve wanted to have a mural for a long time,” she said. “We’re grateful he was able to do it.”

The mural itself is composed of five separate scenes and stretches across about 30 feet of wall space. According to Garcia, 30, of Aurora, each scene depicts a part of the food pantry experience as well as expressing a philosophy of life and a look to the future.

“The first one on the left is a realistic art piece of this place where things all begin,” Garcia said. “The next mural with the word ‘share’ invites people to share what they can and give food in cans which can last a long time. The third mural is about hope, for without it, you have no dreams.”

Aurora artist Fisk Garcia, 30, talks with guests at the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry after a mural he painted there was unveiled Wednesday.
Aurora artist Fisk Garcia, 30, talks with guests at the Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry after a mural he painted there was unveiled Wednesday.(David Sharos / The Beacon-News)

The fourth scene contains a bag of food someone might have received from the food pantry while the last, Garcia said, is about a better future.

“We have a little girl pushing a carriage and the idea is that kids can come here and ask for help and eventually will have a better future,” he said.

Former executive development associate at the pantry Ellie Esparza spoke to guests at the unveiling of the mural on Wednesday and said the final mural is amazing.

“We reached out to a lot of people and this mural is not what I envisioned – it’s even better,” she said.

Aurora Ald. Edward Bugg, 9th Ward, was among the many guests attending Wednesday and said the mural “definitely enhances the food pantry.”

“This will brighten the day of many people who we know don’t always have it easy,” he said. “Anything that brightens or makes this place more endearing is fantastic and for people who have never been here, this will totally blow them away.”

Yahaida Torres of Montgomery said she was at the unveiling representing BMO Harris Bank, which has offered financial education seminars at the pantry for some time.

“I love this mural and love that a younger person provides the inspiration for those coming in – it’s nice to see, and makes this more lifelike and less institutional,” she said. “Now it’s more like a neighborhood grocery.”

Naperville resident Monica Patankar, the reigning Miss Illinois, was at the unveiling and agreed the mural “adds value and community” and likened it to what many experience at local grocery chains.

“This mural adds a neighborhood feel and makes people feel warm and welcome,” she said. “I’ve been to several events at this food pantry and I think it helps that a local artist was so inspired. He wanted to give back and share his talent.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

End Hunger Zumbathon

Please join us on Saturday, January 25th from 12 until 2pm for our End Hunger Zumbathon! Marely Morales is generously donating her time, talent and energy to host Zumba for 2 hours to help sustain our community market 💛 $40 donation to participate, 13+ are $20, kids 12 and under are welcome to join us for free in our Kidz Korner. We hope to see you there 💪🏼 

Check out the video below for a preview of her zumba style!

Pack the Pantry

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Do you love art or are you an artist? If These Walls Could Talk on Stolp Ave in Downtown Aurora is hosting their annual Pack the Pantry event.

You can bid on beautiful works of art made and donated by local artists to benefit the Aurora Food Pantry! Artists were challenged to incorporate a brown paper bag into their masterpieces.

We’re still in need of artists to create pieces to help end local hunger. Please contact Tim or Jennifer at wallstalk@itwct.com for more details.

Bids start at $25!

This is all goin’ down on December 6th from 6PM-10PM
during Downtown Aurora’s First Fridays at If These Walls Could Talk – Custom Framing and Gallery! 32 S. Stolp Ave, Aurora IL 60506

Pack the Pantry

Cocoa Crawl at Wyckwood House

Join us at December’s First Friday for Aurora Downtown’s second annual Cocoa Crawl! The Aurora Food Pantry will have hot cocoa at Wyckwood House from 6-9pm. Stop by and warm up with Shannon and the Pantry Crew! Our friends at Compact Foods generously donated Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate. YUMMM!!!

Cocoa Crawl buttons and mugs are now sold out! If you have a mug and a button, then you’re golden and we’ll see you on Dec. 6.

First Fridays is art, music, and cocoa in December. Even if you didn’t get a mug and button, you can still enjoy First Fridays on Dec. 6 with art, music, and more at 40 locations in downtown Aurora.

Mugs and buttons are only needed for the Cocoa Crawl portion of the event. First Fridays is free and open to all!

The City of Aurora offers free trolley rides during First Fridays. Trolley rides are compliments of Aurora Downtown and stop approx. every 15 to 20 minutes at stops. 6 to 10 p.m.

These are the trolley stops:

1) GAR Museum, 23 E. Downer Pl.

2) Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway (rear lot)

3) Restaurant Row on New York St. @ River St.

4) Santori Library (on Benton St.)

5) SciTech Hands On Museum, 18 W. Benton St.

Veterans Food Pantry

12:00PM to 2:00PM

1110 Jericho Road, Aurora IL 60506

Hunger can affect anyone, including our nation’s veterans. According to the National Veterans Foundation, 1.5 million veterans live in poverty.
To combat this situation, Aurora Food Pantry has partnered with the Fox Valley Marine Corps League to increase outreach to veterans in our community.

On Friday, November 8, we will be hosting a special food distribution for veterans at Aurora Food Pantry (1110 Jericho Rd. in Aurora). Please come to the Pantry with proof of service to celebrate the Marine Corps 244th birthday, receive a gift of food and meet other local veterans!

Read about the 2017 Veterans Pantry in our Spring Newsletter!

Learn more about our weekly food distributions here.