Politicians push carts for local food pantries
By Denise Moran For The Courier-News February 18, 2013 3:54PM
With the help of Food For Greater Elgin director Sue Ericson, State Senator Karen McConnaughay fills her cart with food during the 12th annual Kane County Farm Bureau Food Check-Out Challenge at Jewel on Randall Road in Batavia, Monday, February 18, 2013. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 20, 2013 6:32AM
BATAVIA — State Treasurer Dan Rutherford and State Sen. Karen McConnaughay donned their running shoes Monday for the 12th annual Kane County Farm Bureau Food Check-Out Challenge.
Rutherford, accompanied by Linda Dahms, director of Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry, and McConnaughay, accompanied by Susan Ericson, executive director of Food For Greater Elgin, ran up and down the aisles of the Batavia Jewel-Osco on Randall Road, while filling their carts with non-perishable items.
McConnaughay’s cart was festooned with streamers of blue and white, the colors of Larkin High School in Elgin. Rutherford’s cart was decorated in red and gold in honor of the Batavia Bulldogs.
“This event, in the past 11 years, has contributed well over $20,000 in groceries to local food pantries,” said Steve Arnold, Kane County Farm Bureau executive director/manager.
At the end of the five-minute shopping spree on Monday, the treasurer and senator brought their carts to the registers to be checked out. Rutherford raised $1,174 for Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry. McConnaughay raised $1,033 for Food for Greater Elgin.
“I am pleased to participate in this event,” Rutherford said. “These kinds of programs help the different needs that are out there.”
“Some of the most fertile farmland in the Midwest is right here,” McConnaughay, R-South Elgin, said. “It’s important to continue to support our farming communities.”
Arnold said the Harvest for All campaign, where local farmers pledge a portion of their harvest for hunger relief, brought in more than $100,000 and thousands of pounds of food in the past four years.
“These combined hunger relief programs have already contributed the equivalent of over 700,000 meals to local food pantries,” Arnold said.
“The Kane County Farm Bureau is issuing a Million Meal Challenge to its members and supporters. All 2013 KCFB event sponsorship contributions will be met with a 25 percent match to a local food pantry of the sponsor’s choice.”
Organizations that have already stepped forward with contributions to the Million Meal Challenge are: Kane County Cougars, $650 to the Northern Illinois Food Bank; Country Financial, $650 to local food pantries; Conserv FS, $650 to Northern Illinois Food Bank; Volpp Seeds/Monsanto, $375 to the Burlington-Hampshire Food Pantry, and Kane County Corn Growers, $375 to Elburn Food Pantry.
According to Food For Greater Elgin officials, one out of 10 people in Elgin and South Elgin do not have access to enough food. Every month, Food For Greater Elgin feeds more than 1,000 families, which benefits an average of 4,000 individuals within those households. Forty-five percent of those individuals are children under 18 years old.