Last month (December) it was my plan to spend some time gathering my thoughts on the year that was 2020. But, just like the rest of the year – those plans went out the window! So here I am – finally taking a moment to reflect on the year that was like no other and extending a big grateful “virtual bear hug” to the AMAZING community that is Aurora
Who could have known last January that events would transpire to drastically change our community, our nation, and our world? Luckily (if you can call it that) for those of us at MWFP, the day-to-day life serving our community has always forced us to be adaptable. Over the years, everyone at MWFP has built up a certain kind of strength and resiliency in serving our community – this allowed us to respond to the COVID crisis quickly and effectively – and most importantly, as a team. I am so proud to say that the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry did not miss a single distribution day in 2020. In fact, we had 7 more days of distribution in 2020 than we did the previous year! Although some of our volunteers no longer came to the pantry due to health concerns, instead many worked from home. Our volunteers that were able to continue volunteering in person – well, they doubled down, working more hours and doing more work. The HUGE HEART of our community came out in force, providing food for our guests, lunches for our volunteers, funds, and an occasional shoulder to lean on those rare occasions when we did not think we could possibly accommodate yet another change to our operation.
We are deeply grateful to all of our volunteers, sponsors, and community partners who help us serve our community! We, of course, could not have accomplished our service without you and we don’t forget that – – ever.
We hope our “20 Ways” will make you feel proud to be a supporter of the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry.
20 Ways the
Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry
Took On 2020!
- Provided over 1,164,000 meals to our guests
- 181 distribution days in 2020 – 7 more days than 2019!
- Providing a grocery cart full (~75 lbs.) of nourishing food to over 35,000 families
- Feeding over 102,000 household members:
- 31,947 Children under 18 yrs. of age;
- 54,511 persons ages 19-59;
- 15,753 Seniors
- Harvesting 3,611 pounds of fresh produce from Marie’s Community Garden
- 72% of food shared came from our Food Rescue Program – weekly trips to local grocers by Marie’s Food Rescue Volunteers
- Celebrated our 3rd year of the ‘Food4Students’ program, providing nutritious food to East Aurora High School students
- Helping our guests with 4-legged friends: Distributing @ 10,200 pounds of pet food; Bimonthly Pet Food distributions with our valued partner Bruno’s Pro-Bone-O Pet Pantry
- Expanded food delivery to seniors adding three area senior housing complexes
- ‘Marie’s Kitchen’ Cooking Series – 16 instructional videos, some filmed right at Marie’s Garden kitchen!
- Keeping our community and volunteers safe with COVID accommodations including:
- Drive-thru process
- New awnings
- Protecting our Volunteers with additional PPE, sanitation, and pantry processes
- Collaborating with the Relief Coalition to assist hospitality workers & service workers suddenly unemployed by serving 8,348 meals to 1,958 familiesin just 3 months!
- Joining forces with the Northern Illinois Food Bank and the City of Aurora to set up monthly Pop-Up Pantries at Phillips Park
- Hosting Garden Harvest Weekend – COVID safe gatherings of Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner
- Promotion for both MWFP & local Restaurants in Sept. for ‘Hunger Action Month’
- Launching our first ‘Fall Fest’ and pumpkin giveaway for our community
- Thanksgiving collaboration – serving 2,700 families – with the City of Aurora and Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry
- Hosting a ‘Day of Gift Giving’ distribution in early December for our guests
- Increasing our capacity to serve with the purchase of a refrigerated food truck and a garage size portable freezer
- Partnering with our community to keep Aurora healthy and warm:
- Supplied Senior Services with nonperishable food items for seniors
- VNA partnership with healthy cooking video series
- Continued health screening with Free flu shots provided by Amita Health
- Maddie’s Mitten March distributed warm winter wear 7 times during our distributions
We are proud of the listed 20 ways
(which are only a few of our 2020 accomplishments).
We realize there is more to come, and we are ready to take on 2021!