Food Pantry Opens Branch in Lake County Region Wealthy, but Poverty Is on the Rise

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Byline: Kate Grusich Daily Herald Staff Writer

Lake County has long been considered one of the state's most affluent areas, but as the population booms, the number of those living in poverty has also increased.

An effort to address that need was made Tuesday as county leaders gathered to dedicate Northern Illinois Food Bank's new Lake County facility in Park City.

"We recognized that there was a need, a territory that wasn't being served in the right capacity," said Patrick Bond, board president of the St. Charles-based food bank.

"The numbers are there and we had to go where the need was. This is an undertaking of huge proportions. But we're committed to alleviating, and hopefully eliminating, hunger in Lake County."

This is the first time the hunger relief agency opened a branch office. They chose to open the new facility in Lake County because of its growing population, congested highways and expense of travel, which has hindered the agency and its partners in the transportation of food from St. Charles to Lake County.

Susan Weber, who will head the new facility at 473 Keller Drive, said there are 35,000 residents in Lake County living in poverty. This year the food bank provided about 270,000 pounds of food to county agencies.

In DuPage County, where there are fewer residents living in poverty, about 32,000, the food bank delivered 1.3 million pounds of food.

"The Lake County branch is a powerful step toward a hunger-free northern Illinois," Weber told the audience. "It will take the daily efforts of a network of friends to help uncover those needs. …