What We Do

As the state association for food banks serving Illinois we work with our members to strengthen and support their efforts to eliminate hunger. Each food bank has identified the specific needs of their communities and has developed a comprehensive array of programs and services to combat hunger in their region.

To learn about the programs in your area visit your local food bank's page.

How a Food Bank Works

Every day, Feeding Illinois members work with a statewide network of more than 2,000 pantries and soup kitchens to distribute food to hungry people in Illinois. Delivering millions of pounds of food to every corner of our state requires coordination and commitment. Feeding hungry people in Illinois also requires funding for every step of the process—from acquiring food, to food storage, to transportation for people in need. With modest budgets, food banks across Illinois successfully complete the complex process of delivering food to our children, families, and seniors.


  1. Food is donated and/or purchased from local food companies, government agencies, food drives, special purchases and from Feeding America.

  2. Once food is accepted it must be transported or delivered to food banks. To execute this food banks must maintain trucks and employ drivers to ensure safe and efficient transportation.

  3. Food banks store and distribute food. Once the food bank receives a shipment of food, it is inspected for quality, sorted and repacked for distribution to member agencies throughout its service area. This includes refrigerated storage for perishable items such as meat, milk, and eggs. Collectively, Feeding Illinois member food banks distributed 120 million pounds of food in 2011.

  4. Member agencies, such as soup kitchens, shelters and food pantries, receive food from food banks and then provide food assistance to people in need. The food banks also provide training and resource to its members to ensure they can serve as many people in their community as possible.

  5. Food reaches those in need. Feeding Illinois network members feed over 1.4 million hungry people each year, including 605,000 children.




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Fighting Hunger

In 2011, the Feeding Illinois food bank network:

  • Distributed 120 million pounds of food through a network of 2,000 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.

  • Served an estimated 1.4 million people in Illinois in 2011- a staggering 61% increase since the recession began.

  • Helped more than 2,600 people apply for SNAP benefits, bringing in an estimated $5.6 million in federal assistance.

  • Provided 2.9 million meals to children through after-school or summer programs, back-pack programs and Kids Cafes.

  • Participated in the creation of a statewide Commission to End Hunger that will create a two-year plan to address hunger in Illinois.