Over 400 Girl Scouts will crisscross the villages Saturday with a goal of restocking local food pantry shelves.

Here’s how you can help.

Girl Scouts will go door to door collecting bags of food and toiletries for the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry –housed in First United Church basement — as well as the smaller-scale Forest Park Food Pantry –located at Forest Park Community Center.

Residents are asked to have their donations in bags outside their doors by 9 a.m. this Saturday. Pantries especially need canned meat, peanut butter, tuna, vegetables, soup, cereal, and pasta, as well as diapers, laundry soap, shaving cream, shampoo, and toothpaste.

Demand for food has increased at a stunning rate at the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. In 2005, the average number of families served per month was 155. Since then, there has been a steady rise in visits to the pantry with the current average number of families served per month of 1,200. “At four cans of vegetables per family, 48,000 cans of vegetables go out our doors each month,” says Kathy Russell, executive director of the pantry. Volunteer efforts have also increased proportionately. Several years ago pantry operations required 60 volunteer shifts in a month, now some 340 volunteer shifts are staffed each month.

The Girl Scout Food Drive is the largest area food drive, collecting at least 20 tons of food annually.

More ways to contribute…

Tax-deductible monetary contributions are also appreciated. Please make checks payable to Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, 848 Lake Street, Oak Park, IL 60301, if you live in Oak Park and River Forest. For residents of Forest Park, make checks payable to the Forest Park Community Center, 7640 Jackson Blvd., Forest Park, IL 60130.

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