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Niles Township Food Pantry launches ‘wish list’ to target specific items each month

The Food Pantry Foundation has launched a new campaign designed to meet specific needs in support of the Niles Township Food Pantry. The initiative is called “Fill the Pantry,” officials said.

A monthly wish list, created by the Food Pantry Foundation, is comprised not only of food, but also toiletries that official will seek to increase during a particular month. The list includes:

February: peanut butter and jelly

March: rice and pasta

April: salt and pepper

May: oils, including olive, vegetable and canola

June: boxed cereals

July: school supplies

August: back-to-school snacks

September: juice

October: toilet paper and diapers

November: soaps, including dish, laundry, body, shampoo and conditioners

December: tuna, salmon, chicken and chili

Dave Silbar, who manages public relations for the Food Pantry Foundation, said the time is now for the food pantry to make its pitch to the community for support.

“We’re always at some levels in need because we have a steady flow people,” he said, adding that “focusing on some specific items” might be easier for some.

“Everyone is used to collecting cans,” he said. “So, we thought maybe if we did peanut butter and jelly one month, salt and pepper another month, or toiletries, … we thought by being a little specific, they might give.”

The Food Pantry Foundation won’t discontinue efforts to promote needs for other items.

“We thought that by being specific in this way, we might encourage people to support our cause,” he said.

Officials said they encourage residents, schools, governments, businesses and clubs to donate items that are in critical need, and added monetary donations are welcome as well.

The Niles Township Food Pantry helps provide for 1,800 people per month, officials said.

“We’re here for the community,” he said.

Last year, the food pantry underwent a renovation, Silbar said, adding “we made it more or less of a serve-yourself.”

“We serve with a lot more dignity,” he said. “People have shopping carts.”

The Niles Township Food Pantry receives shipments with food daily, and emergency deliveries are fulfilled three times per week, officials said.

He said the work of volunteers is greatly valued, and the food pantry is open to getting additional help.

“It’s a great volunteer opportunity, especially for teenagers,” he said. “Some don’t even know there is a hunger issue.”

The Niles Township Food pantry is at 8341 Lockwood Ave. in Skokie and is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m., with extended hours on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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