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DuPage County distributes ARPA funds to area food pantries


On Tuesday, the DuPage County Board unanimously approved allocating $910,673 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) relief funds to improve the infrastructure of 16 local food pantries.
In August, the board established the Local Food Pantry Infrastructure Investment Program as a way to channel BARLEY money to pantries, money to purchase fresh meat, produce and other goods, and money to improve where food is stored.
“These targeted investments will make it easier to quickly deliver fresh food to the neediest residents in our County, provide critical resources to local warehouses, and strengthen our food distribution network for decades to come,” said Human Services Committee Chairman and county board member Greg Schwarze. in a news release Tuesday.
Because funding needs differed, not all of the money was divided equally among the 16 pantries; The largest recipient, the Community Resource Center, which operates Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in Wheaton and Westmont, was allocated $145,565 by the county.
$108,491 was allocated to the Town of Lisle, where Supervisor Diane Hewitt talked about the dire need for the pantry in an interview with Doings in August.
“Food insecurity is hidden in our affluent suburbs, so they don’t realize how prevalent it can be for such a population,” Hewitt said. “It’s easy to see that poverty lurks in the suburbs.”
The county wants evidence from the pantry that the money was spent on vehicles, capital equipment and technology that improves existing infrastructure.
“This is a refund, so no checks will be sent out until we send them an invoice so we can pay them,” county board member Elizabeth Chaplain said at Tuesday’s board meeting.
Funds also could be used to collect data, report or pay for payments, county officials said in a news release.
Loaves and Fishes Community Services and Community Resource Center, one of the largest nonprofits in the region, received a new round of grants in July for more direct responses to food insecurity.
In DuPage, Will, Kane and Kendall Counties, where Loaves and Fishes operates, one in five people is either below the poverty line or the low-income line, Loaves and Fishes President and CEO Mike Havala said in July. . Interview with Doings.
“When working with perishable foods, the quicker you can get them to your dock and into customers’ hands, the better,” Havala said.


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