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Hunger Beat

Mission: Food Rescue

150 volunteers + 50 shopping carts scouring 540,000 square feet = 55,000 pounds of food for struggling Cook County families.

Recently Greater Chicago Food Depository staff and hundreds of volunteers scoured 2012 National Restaurant Association Show at McCormick Place on a mission to rescue food.  Armed with carts and donation stickers the teams of volunteers made their way through rows and rows of vendors, picking up everything from large rounds of cheese, cases of smoked salmon to frozen calamari.  If you've ever seen the show Supermarket Sweep, you get the idea!

The Food Depository collected 55,000 pounds of food.


Chicago is host to many food shows during the year, bringing tens of thousands of visitors and hundreds of thousands of pounds of food.  At the end of each event there are always left-overs.  A lot of left-overs.

"These shows bring in so much food for the Food Depository," said Julian Blementhal, long-time food show volunteer and 2012 Food Depository Volunteer of the Year.  "We come in just as the show is breaking down and grab as much food as we can."

"It's very fast-paced," added Den Czurylo, another veteran food show volunteer.  "You grab the food then bring it back to bins where we sort what we can take – looking for healthy, nutritional food.  Then we pack it up in totes, put it on trucks and send it back to the Food Depository."

150 volunteers came out for the 2012 NRA Show.


"You just feel so good once it's over knowing how much you have collected for the hungry people of Chicago," said volunteer Beverly Minister.  "I have been volunteering at the food show for eight years and it's why I come back every year."

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