Greater Chicago Food Depository staff and volunteers harvesting sweet corn in Marengo, Ill.

On the morning of August 4, more than 60 Greater Chicago Food Depository volunteers, staff and community members arrived at a corn field in Marengo, Ill., about an hour and a half northwest of Chicago, ready to harvest. The nearly 40 acres of donated land in McHenry County is growing sweet corn and squash – all to be donated to the Food Depository.

Dressed in jeans, t-shirts and baseball caps, the group fanned out into the field.  Row by row they picked the corn cobs off the stalks. The work is hard but the reward is great. So far this year, Food Depository volunteers and community members have harvested more than 127,000 pounds of sweet corn. One more corn harvest is scheduled for August 25 and the squash harvest is planned for this fall.  Email Eoin Dillion if you would like to volunteer.

Jim Origer of Shorewood Property Investments came up with the idea of planting corn on the donated acreage a few years ago.
Volunteers sorting and packing the harvested corn at the Food Depository warehouse.

The corn is then loaded into trucks and brought back to the Food Depository where the hard work continues. Volunteers are tasked with sorting and packing the sweet corn into boxes. The fresh vegetables are then distributed to Food Depository agencies to feed hungry people throughout Cook County.

To volunteer at an upcoming Food Depository corn or squash harvest, contact Eoin Dillon at [email protected] or 773-843-7285.