January 13, 2012

MLK Day Food Collection Drive at YMCA of Metro Chicago

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago will launch a week-long, Metro-wide food drive on Martin Luther King Jr., Day to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) and the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

King’s philosophy was one of inclusion, particularly including those less fortunate. According to the GCFD, nearly 142,000 hungry men, women and children rely on the Food Depository every week, with 37 percent of those served being children. Northern Illinois Food Bank will serve more than 500,000 people this year across its 13-county service area, up 168 percent from 2006.

The Y of Metro Chicago, including its 25 member centers throughout Chicago and the Collar Counties, will rally together staff and members in hopes of collecting 10,000 pounds of food. Because of the Y’s commitment to healthy living through nutrition and physical activity programs, policies and initiatives, healthy foods are being sought for this drive.

In December, the United States Surgeon General and the Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner applauded the Y for its commitment to promoting the priorities outlined in the City’s Healthy Chicago initiative. This food drive advances that commitment and the Y’s effort to help to make Chicago the healthiest city in the nation.

While many food drives occur around the holidays, the need continues year-round, and the need for healthy foods is even more important. The food banks are seeking items such as whole grain pasta, canned-in-water chicken or tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, reduced-sodium soup, peanut butter and pasta sauce.

Individuals are encouraged to drop off donations at any Y of Metro Chicago location (ymcachicago.org/locations/) between Martin Luther King’s birthday, Monday, January 16, and Monday, January 23.