'Charity Blooms' in Marie's Pantry Garden
Marie's Pantry Gardens are managed by 'Charity Blooms,' our partner not-for-profit organization of volunteers. Volunteers grow dozens of varieties of food including fruit, vegetables and herbs. Cooking classes are held in Marie's Garden Kitchen, a beautiful outdoor educational gathering space built by volunteers!
Produce is donated to Marie's Pantry to nourish guests. Charity Blooms has won many awards at Sandwich County Fair for the quality of their produce!
The half-acre lot across from Marie's Pantry was once occupied by 5 houses. Those houses were torn down in 2014 and turned into green space. Hundreds of volunteers have transformed this community space and now it benefits thousands!
Veterans Gardening Day
The first Saturday in May is officially "Veterans Gardening Day" in the state of Illinois!
Marie's Pantry celebrated the day with a gathering ceremony, a meal, and a planting opportunity for local veterans at Marie's Urban Farm & Community Gardens.
Marie Wilkinson of Aurora, IL
Marie Wilkinson was a lifetime social and civil rights activist who fought against poverty, hunger, homelessness, joblessness, and injustice. Marie founded the Aurora, IL Food Pantry in the 1950’s after a near-death experience that caused her to make a personal commitment to helping the less fortunate.
Driven by a new life purpose, Wilkinson began giving out bags of food to those in need from her bungalow on View Street. She recruited friends and neighbors to help, and soon she had a started a soup kitchen and food pantry. Today, the Food Pantry continues to serve the communities of Aurora IL, Kane County and the surrounding areas.