Around 5 years ago, Feeding America solidified the notion that an alarming number of students in the USA are often enduring food insecurity (aka hunger). The initiative of school-based food pantries was born. The underlying premise of school-based food pantries is that families who are struggling will more likely seek and utilize a resource if it is in partnership and/or affiliated in some way to the education system. And so, Feeding America began to work with their partner Food Banks to spearhead, support, and launch these food pantry efforts.
The story of the D300 Food Pantry really began in 2015 when our Founder, Craig Raddatz approached School District 300 administration with the idea of opening a school-based food pantry within one of their schools. Knowing the need in D300 was present, indicative to the fact that there are eight Title I schools, they were very receptive to the idea and began to work alongside Mr. Raddatz and Northern Illinois Food Bank to bring the first school-based food pantry to Kane and McHenry County.
The area where the pantry exists today was literally transformed from a dock area into a functional space servicing hundreds of families each month! Funding support for renovations came through Northern Illinois Food Bank via Feeding America and included, among others, Morgan Stanley.
In late August 2016, the D300 Food Pantry officially opened! Now, in our third year of operations, we have over 700 families registered with us and serve, on average, 75-80 families each week!
We are open for our families in need each week - even throughout the summer. Families can visit us each week to fill their carts with nutritious, varied, and fresh groceries including bread, meat, cereal, milk, etc. As a school-based food pantry we are all about the kids! We pride ourselves not only in providing families with food but also a friendly, family-oriented environment where they can be comfortable and relaxed. To this end, we also facilitate several other special programs each year including an Egg Hunt, School Re-Supply Distribution, Customized Holiday Meal Boxes, and Holiday Stockings.
The D300 Food Pantry is 100% volunteer-run and 100% donation-dependent. We rely on the generosity of our volunteers' time and truly would not function without that component. And, of course, we rely on the generosity of our donors to ultimately keep the shelves stocked!
In summary, our tag line is brief but succinct in that it captures what we do and why we do it perfectly. Together, we are KEEPIN THE KIDS FED!