Each month, we highlight a different ministry at St. Barnabas.
This month’s focus is our Confirmation Class and Youth Group’s recent sponsorship of a Mobile Market!
What is the Mobile Market?
The Mobile Market is a direct distribution program of the Northern Illinois Food Bank. Based in Geneva, Illinois, the Northern Illinois Food Bank is the source of nutritious food, innovative feeding programs, and hope for more than 71,000 people each week. As a nonprofit organization with a goal of solving hunger over a 13-county service area, they rely on community partners – the local food pantries and feeding programs, food manufacturers and retailers, companies, foundations and individuals – who join with them in their vision for no one to be hungry in northern Illinois.
Who is the Northern Illinois Food Bank?
Northern Illinois Food Bank began as a dream of Sister Rosemarie Burian, who awoke one morning in 1982 with an idea to open a center for the poor in DuPage County. From that idea, Bethlehem Center was born. Sister Rosemarie distributed the first food in May 1983. In its first full year of operation, 64,000 pounds of food were distributed through 80 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Over 30 years, the Food Bank’s name has changed, its address has changed, and staff has changed; but the one thing that has remained consistent is their commitment to feeding our hungry neighbors.
How does the Mobile Market work?
The Food Bank operates two Mobile Pantry trucks which act as “traveling food pantries”, each distributing 10,000 pounds of perishable and non-perishable food directly to hungry neighbors at each Mobile Market. The Cary-Grove Food Pantry commits to sponsoring 2-3 Mobile Markets each year at a cost of $1,000 each, paid to the Northern Illinois Food Bank to support their programs. In turn, the Cary-Grove Food Pantry seeks sponsors from the local community to cover the cost of the Moblie Market. Past sponsors include local churches and businesses, local philanthropic organizations, the Cary-Grove High School Interact Community Service Club and local families, among others.
Where is the Mobile Market?
Mobile Markets are held at the Algonquin Township facility on Rt. 14 in Crystal Lake. A large truck arrives from the Northern Illinois Food Bank, and volunteers unload 10,000 pounds of perishable and non-perishable food, setting up a temporary “grocery store” in one of the township’s buildings. Clients line up, grab a shopping cart, and enter the facility to “shop” as volunteers assist with food selections and loading the food into their carts. Volunteers also assist clients with loading groceries into their cars. Since many clients are elderly or disabled, they very much appreciate the volunteer’s assistance.
How did the St. Barnabas Youth Group Sponsor a Mobile Market?
It was the Confirmation class’ goal this year to raise enough money to sponsor a Mobile Market. They joined with the High School Youth Group’s Souperbowl of Caring initiative on Super Bowl Sunday as the primary source of funding for the Mobile Market. An anonymous donor agreed to match the Souperbowl of Caring collections, up to $500. At our worship services on Super Bowl Sunday, the youth collected an astounding $501.43 from the generous families of St. Barnabas and, with the matching $500 gift, achieved the goal of $1,000 to sponsor a Mobile Market! The total amount raised of $1,001.43 was donated to the Cary-Grove Food Pantry to pay for a Mobile Market.
When was the Mobile Market sponsored by our Youth?
Our youth sponsored the Mobile Market held at the Township offices on Saturday morning, February 25th. In addition to sponsoring the event, several youth from our congregation (and some not-so-youthful adults) volunteered at the event. These members of St. Barnabas also served alongside a large contingent of athletes and coaches from the Cary-Grove High School Track and Cross County Teams, so many hands made for light work! Those who served enjoyed meeting the Market’s customers and assisting them during their visit to the Market.
If you ever get the chance to serve at a Mobile Market, do it! It’s a fun and rewarding way to spend a Saturday morning.