Written by: Jeff Arnold, Patch | View Article

A community food pantry that serves more than 5,600 people in DuPage and Will counties have received a donation from the Amazon Fresh store that opened last winter in Naperville that will not only help feed those who struggle with food security but will also enable West Suburban Community Pantry to expand its existing services.

Amazon Fresh donated hundreds of items of fresh, healthy food, snacks, beverages, and non-perishable grocery items to the pantry on Tuesday. On Wednesday, West Suburban Community Pantry will celebrate its grand reopening at 10 a.m. with a ceremony that will kick off an expansion of services, including the donation from Amazon Fresh.

The event will not only commemorate the facility’s reopening but will also begin the additional services that will be generated out of an expanded pantry store which will now offer remote online ordering. The pantry, which is located at 6808 Hobson Valley Dr. in Woodridge, also now includes a new client lobby, new offices, a classroom, conference room space as well as a large warehouse, officials said.

The Naperville Amazon Fresh store has committed to helping the pantry remained stocked as a way of serving the more than 5,000 people from around Naperville, Lisle, Westmont, Willowbrook, Romeoville and Bolingbrook.

“This kicks off a valued partnership between The Pantry and Amazon Fresh with a shared commitment to provide fresh, wholesome foods to the community and accessible and dignified solutions for their household need,” Laura Coyle, executive director of the West Suburban Community Pantry said. “If the pandemic has showed us anything, it’s that so many of our neighbors live with food insecurity every day, and an incident like COVID-19 can set them back months if not years. We need to support them.”

The Amazon Fresh store, which opened in Naperville in December, became involved because of its desire to help those in need from around the surrounding communities that the pantry serves. In addition to Wednesday’s donation to the pantry, Amazon Fresh store employees will also be delivering a gift card donation to ensure that the pantry staff can visit the local Naperville store to shop for additional items to serve pantry clients.

For the employees, many of whom come from communities served by the pantry, the new partnership is a win-win proposition.

“My Amazon Fresh Naperville team and I are honored to partner with the West Suburban Community Pantry to make sure our neighbors aren’t hungry this summer,” Amazon Fresh employee Sarafina Pastrana said. “This cause means so much to me because this is my home; I have lived in Bolingbrook for the last 15 years, and I am so excited our store is able to give back to the local community in this way.”

Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2021, about 42 million Americans may not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.

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