• LB Strong

Phoenix Rising Food Pantry: Small but Mighty

It operates out of little more than 400 square feet of space but that doesn’t stop the Phoenix Rising Foundation food pantry from having a big impact on its clients, especially during times of crisis. Since 2004, the food pantry, a private 501(c)(3) located in Lake Bluff, has provided food to families facing food insecurity in North Chicago, Lake Bluff and Lake Forest.

Because food insecurity is particularly profound for people in North Chicago, Phoenix Rising recently reached out to a city official there and coordinated an effort to get 100 bags of food to seniors last week. Phoenix Rising is preparing to deliver another 100 bags of food to North Chicago on May 7.

“These are dangerous and difficult times, but we have to help those in need," said Phoenix Rising founding board member Larry Bridges of North Chicago. "Most of the need is in North Chicago, but now there is more need in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. As long as we can do it safely, we will continue to provide food to those who need it.”

The coronavirus pandemic has also created some new opportunities for Phoenix Rising to expand its reach beyond North Chicago, Lake Bluff and Lake Forest. Partnering with the Roberti Community House in Waukegan, Phoenix Rising is delivering donated meal kits to Highwood to be distributed to families there every Wednesday.

Bags of food are ready for clients to pick up at Phoenix Rising Foundation Food Pantry

Heather Kerr, board member and volunteer from Lake Bluff, came up with the idea to join forces with Maribeth Roberti. “We’ve worked with Roberti House in the past and admire their mission statement: to provide aid to anyone, anywhere, who needs it. Phoenix Rising Foundation maintains the same mantra and we are grateful we can share services with such a valuable resource.”

Phoenix Rising supplements the meal kits with additional bags of food from its food pantry because demand in Highwood is growing. “Every week the numbers of people showing up to get a meal kit is increasing,” Kerr noted. “Just this week alone another 60 families showed up to get a bag.”

Phoenix Rising’s ability to provide food to people in need is possible thanks to the continued support from residents of Lake Bluff, Lake Forest and beyond, as well as community partners like Gorton Community Center. Gorton is conducting a food drive from April 27 through May 7, with some of the donations going to benefit the Phoenix Rising Foundation food pantry.

“We are so grateful to everyone who supports the food pantry with donations,” said board member and volunteer Kate Briand of Lake Bluff. “Every donation makes it possible for us to get more food to more families.”

The Phoenix Rising Foundation is also grateful for its team of devoted volunteers who continue to make a difference in the lives of so many people. And a special thank you to Sunset Foods in Lake Forest for its on-going paper bag donations.

The Covid-19 outbreak has required the food pantry to change its business model from in-person shopping by clients to appointment-only curbside pick-up of pre-packed bags of non-perishable items like cereal, pasta, rice, soup, canned fruit and canned vegetables.

Appointments to pick up food can be made by calling 847-579-9739 or by email at PhoenixRisingFdn@gmail.com

Phoenix Rising Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. If you would like to donate, please go to https://phoenixrising.foundation.

Donations of non-perishable food can also be dropped off at 906 Muir Avenue, Lake Bluff (the former West School building).

For those who would like to donate food to The Phoenix Rising Foundation food pantry, our wish list is:

  • Canned fruit

  • Canned peas, carrots, corn, mixed vegetables

  • Canned diced tomatoes (plain)

  • Canned chicken breast

  • Canned tuna

  • Canned chili

  • Canned beef stew

  • Hamburger Helper/Tuna Helper

  • Jam/Jelly (no glass)

  • Manwich Sloppy Joe sauce

  • Maple syrup (no glass)

  • Oatmeal

  • Pancake mix

  • Pasta sauce (no glass jars)

  • Peanut butter (16 oz.)

  • Pork ‘n’ beans

  • Spam

  • White rice (1 lb. bags)