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Loaves & Fishes "Power of Community Campaign" to Create Sustainable Solution to Suburban Hunger

The chorus of Longwood Elementary School.
The chorus of Longwood Elementary School.

Suburban poverty across the country grew 53% between 2000 and 2010, more than twice the rate of urban poverty, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution. For the first time, more poor people live in the suburbs than in cities, and Loaves & Fishes Community Services has responded proactively by introducing innovative, anti-poverty services for the past 30 years in the western suburbs.

On Friday, June 13th, Loaves & Fishes kicked off its 30th year anniversary at its 7th Annual “Day Without Hunger” celebration. Coming off another record-breaking year during which it served nearly 20,000 low-income residents from the western suburbs, Loaves & Fishes welcomed in a new era for the organization by changing its name from Loaves & Fishes Community Pantry to Loaves & Fishes Community Services and announcing its Power of Community Campaign.

This transition is reflective of the organization’s program evolution throughout its history. In 1984, Loaves & Fishes was created by parishioners of a local church and served eight families out of a basement closet. Today, it operates out of a 17,000-square-foot facility and provides 4,770 families with multi-faceted services, such as job search support, food assistance, skill-based classes and public benefit assistance that deliver a sustainable solution to hunger. Hence, the “pantry” moniker has been outgrown because Loaves & Fishes does much more than provide food; it addresses the root causes of hunger through collaborative programs.

As the organization continues to improve its client-focused service model, Loaves & Fishes seeks to engage more community members in the fight to end hunger through its $6 million Power of Community Campaign. With its buying power, Loaves & Fishes is proud to share that a $1 donation saves its clients about $10 in services, which is then reinvested into the local economy through rent, mortgage payments and other household expenses. This “all-in” campaign – which means that all donations received up to December 31, 2015 will be counted toward the goal – is already past the half-way point with a total of $3,321,919.

“By reaching our $6 million goal, Loaves & Fishes will have the means to achieve our strategic objectives,” said Charles P. McLimans, Loaves & Fishes President & CEO. “This includes empowering more individuals to become self-sufficient, reducing childhood hunger, educating families on healthy eating, and establishing an endowment for the future. Our community has helped us progress these last 30 years, and to continue making a significant impact on the lives of our low-income neighbors, we need to advance the power of community.”

Loaves & Fishes is a 501 (c) (3) anti-poverty organization located at 1871 High Grove Lane, Naperville and provides multi-faceted programs, such as job search support, food assistance, skill-based classes and public benefit assistance, to low-income, west suburban residents. Learn more about getting help, making a donation, or volunteering at http://www.loaves-fishes.org or call (630) 355-3663.

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