Winnetka, Community

Township food pantry ‘need is way up.’ Donate today and during food drive on July 29

JUMP TO: Pantry Needs

Multiple factors are enabling a growing need at the New Trier Township Food Pantry, said Gail Eisenberg, the township supervisor.

The food pantry offers those who live or work in the township access to a variety of food and household items. The pantry is on-site at the Township’s offices, 739 Elm St. in Winnetka.

Currently, the Township is seeking items to fill its shelves. Donations can be dropped off between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday in a box in the office’s foyer, and the Township is hosting a Community Food Drop-Off Day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, July 29.

Eisenberg said the pantry sees more activity in the summer because from September through May many families in need rely on school-lunch programs that are more difficult to access in the summer months.

Additionally, this summer, Eisenberg said families are enduring inflation when they go shopping.

“People’s dollars are not going as far at the grocery stores,” she said. “Those on limited or fixed means need some additional help to fill their plates.”

Also affecting the pantry’s current need is a move back to in-person shopping at the pantry. Through the past two-plus years amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the pantry prepackaged items for curbside pickup. In early June, the pantry moved back to a “personal choice” experience, in which users get to browse the pantry shelves. It is a preferred format, Eisenberg said, and the township marketed the change, which has increased usage.

“There was a huge jump when we opened for personal choice,” she said.

All of the factors has led to dwindling supply at the pantry, leading to a more immediate need for donations.

“During the fall we have an influx of donations; in the summer, we don’t,” Eisenberg said. ” … The need is year-round and increases in the summer.”

The pantry is stocked by volunteers from Our Place, a Township-funded nonprofit that supports individuals with special developmental needs. Eisenberg called the volunteers “huge assets” to the pantry.

The Township also runs a Pantry Pals program that welcomes new users to the pantry. Interested volunteers can contact Community Services Administrator Brian Levernz at

New users of the pantry must speak with Township social worker Jeanne Winsted Rosser (847-446-8201, to fill out an application. Eisenberg said the application, which asks for income information, is used primarily to assess if a person may qualify for additional resources and the township rarely turns people away.

“If someone is hungry, we don’t turn people down,” she said. “There are so many reasons that people might need the food pantry. They may have an income on paper, but if they can’t meet their basic needs, that’s why we are here.”

New Trier Township Food Pantry Current Needs

Food Items

  • cereal
  • cookies, crackers and granola bars
  • pasta sauce
  • peanut butter & jelly
  • nuts, raisins, other healthy snacks
  • soups
  • canned fruit
  • black beans

Nonfood Items

  • laundry detergent
  • Ziploc-style bags
  • toothbrushes, toothpaste
  • mouthwash

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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