There are so many people across Cook County who do everything they can to fight hunger in their communities. Most are volunteers, and most of their efforts go unnoticed. That’s why it was so gratifying to see a story this week in the Southtown Star about the Tinley Park Food Pantry, a member agency of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

I had the opportunity to visit the pantry on a cold March day in 2007. I remember it well because of the enthusiasm of its volunteers and its location in the relatively affluent suburb of Tinley Park. (I didn’t have my digital camera with me that day, so you’ll see that the picture above was taken with a film camera.) The pantry also had a clever means for getting food into its church basement location–a chute that delivered cartons through a converted window.

The Southtown Star story is also notable because of the involvement of a community garden that is donating fruit and vegetables to the pantry. Fresh, local produce is a key part of the Food Depository’s new Strategic Plan, Growing the Field. Many pantries already are teaming up with urban agriculture initiatives, and the Food Depository plans to further tap into local growing in years to come. We’ve always distributed fresh produce, but we will be redoubling our efforts so that Chicagoans receive healthier food.

Awareness is half the battle in what we do. We plan to continue to chronicle these often overlooked stories on the blog in months ahead.

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