Food Pantry

To Volunteer

Description of Ministry – Mission and Goals
Our parish food pantry is a welcoming, dependable source of nutritious food, respect and social contact to the needy of our community. Currently, we purchase most of the food from the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). However, we do still supplement with donations from parishioners and purchase needed items, especially toiletries which are never supplied by GCFD.

Typical tasks carried out by ministry volunteers
There are two main roles carried out by our volunteers: (1) distribution support every Saturday, and (2) GCFD pick-up and pantry stocking every Thursday (with a few exceptions). Every Saturday from 9-10AM, volunteers set up the distribution in a manner that allows guests to choose from products that meet their needs and tastes. At 10AM, volunteers guide guests through their ‘shopping’ experience. Every Thursday (with some exceptions for blackout dates and special holiday pick-up dates), a volunteer driver picks up our food order from the Greater Chicago Food Depository (roughly 9AM to noon). Volunteers are at church around 11:30AM to unload the delivery van and arrange food into the pantry.

Another way that parishioners can support the pantry is by donating non-perishable food, toiletries, or sturdy shopping bags or by making a monetary donation. Collection baskets are regularly in front of the ambo (lectern) in the church. Lastly, many parishioners and food pantry guests support our annual Food Pantry fundraiser by walking in the annual Hunger Walk organized by the Greater Chicago Food Depository (typically in June).

Where ministry is carried out
The food pantry storage room is in the Parish Center utility closet. We prepare and distribute groceries in the Gathering Space. We hold quarterly meetings in the Parish Center.

Current number of parish members participating
This ministry engages the support of many parishioners, neighbors, friends of the parish, and food pantry guests. Exact numbers are unknown because there are so many ways that people lend support. However, we are constantly open to new volunteers and welcome newcomers and outside groups such as corporate work groups or scout troops. On Saturdays, we have 8-12 volunteers who support set-up and distributions. On Thursdays, we have one GCFD pick-up driver and about 4 volunteers to unload and store food. Volunteer scheduling occurs through VolunteerSpot (see top of page for links).

Frequency of activities / time commitment
Saturday set-up and distribution cover 9:00AM to 12:00PM. If you have limited time, our greatest need on Saturdays is 9AM to 10:45AM. Some volunteers leave after this initial rush of work. Thursday GCFD pick-up drivers generally serve from 9:00AM to Noon. Thursday unloading and storage volunteers generally work 11:00AM to 1:00PM.

When planning meetings are held
We meet the first Monday of each quarter from 7:00 to 8:30PM in the Parish Center. We publish the meeting dates and times in the bulletin and the St Teresa website.

Special needs or talents the ministry can use currently
Currently, we are specifically looking for one or two drivers to join the Thursday GCFD pick-up team. We always welcome new volunteers for each part of the process. Children are welcome to participate on Saturdays with a parent or responsible adult. Children can earn service hours for this work. If you cannot help on Saturdays of Thursdays, please consider making a donation to St Teresa’s Social Outreach Fund; donating food or toiletries at Mass; or walking in the Hunger Walk. Please consider sponsoring a food drive at your school, place of work or club or organizing a day of service with members from work or a club. Contact Lisa Hanzelka for special service ideas.

People to contact for more information
Lisa Hanzelka at (Food Pantry Coordinator)
Karen Breen Vogel at (GCFD and Stocking Coordinator)