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.