DeKALB – In one of the most successful local drives on record, the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive collected about 28,000 pounds of goods for DeKalb, Sycamore and Northern Illinois University pantries.
Unofficial numbers show that the DeKalb Salvation Army received about 18,000 pounds of food, the Sycamore Food Pantry about 7,000 pounds and the Huskie Food Pantry – a new partner to the drive – about 3,000 pounds.
Clare Kron, co-chairwoman of the drive, attributed the success to increased publicity and the widespread distribution of thousands of Stamp Out Hunger-printed shopping bags, a first for the event.
“We knew distributing bags widely should have done something, according to national statistics, and it sure did,” Kron said. “Our bags said ‘Hunger craves attention,’ and we were able to give hunger the attention it needed this year.”
Gary Billings, The Salvation Army food pantry coordinator, said about 15 volunteers, including from Boy Scouts of America Troop 33, helped sort the food from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“This has been very successful, and I want to thank the community and all the volunteers, especially with the post office, and all the people who donated in the community,” Billings said.
Liz McKee, assistant director of the NIU Student Involvement and Leadership Development Division of Student Affairs, said most of the Huskie Food Pantry donations came from bins that were dispersed in residence halls.
“Internally, this worked out way better than I thought it would, due to the participation of the residence halls,” McKee said. “We’re excited to gear things up and grow in the future.”
Donations to the NIU pantry also were taken from a northwest section of DeKalb, north of West Lincoln Highway and west of Normal Road. Kron said, however, that only about 300 pounds of food came from that neighborhood.