When LCVFSF was chosen to work with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and Craig Newmark Philanthropies in September of 2020, LCVFSF was honored to be chosen as one of few non-profits to make close community impact to Veteran/service members.   By providing food and other necessities to them in Lake, McHenry and Southern Kenosha counties we could fulfill our mission of connecting Veterans and service members with the resources they need at no cost in time of crisis. 

         

At that time, and continuing today, the impact that COVID-19 had on service members and their families (active or inactive) was worsening.  Government help intended to be generous, but it was/is limited as our country is reaching for pre-COVID “normalcy”.  For many, there was a large gap in a working couple’s family economics because of already tight budgets, job layoffs, daycare expenses, school provided meals and a myriad of new issues. 

Many of us take food and eating for granted every day.  However, the seismic change that COVID threw on many people was completely unexpected.  Forms of relief had to be invented for the new crisis that had never been experienced.  A basic essential such as food needed to be addressed for many, including service members that are usually out of sight and out of mind. Enter BWF.

In concert with Craig Newmark Philanthropies of Craig’s List fame, the Woodruff Foundation looked for ways to fund food distribution channels to the Veteran, service member and their families.  LCVFSF proposed a unique and powerful system to distribute through other agencies: County agencies, Veterans Closet, Illinois Joining Forces, VAC offices, Employee Resource Groups, Veterans Path to Hope and other area homeless programs.

The BWF grant funded the LCVFSF system for two options: delivery of pre-packaged meals, or restricted $50 gift cards for food and essential supplies (see photos).  As a welcomed surprise, the AbbVie Employee Resource Group raised money for the cause on their own and contributed over $15,000 to participate in the drive to fight food insecurity.  The group authorized LCVFSF to distribute the grant the identical way that had been used for the BWF/Craig Philanthropy monies.

As the system kicked into gear, Dean Adams, LCVFSF Operations and Program Manager, pointed out that the tools to cook are often a food insecurity issue.  If you can’t cook, you can’t eat.  So, he expanded the effort.  Consequently, LCVFSF was able to help needy service and family members with a refrigerator, 20 microwave ovens, 20 sets of pots and pans, toasters, and food.  

The LCVFSF delivery van sits filled with about $7000 worth of food and cookware, ready to be delivered to area Veteran homeless programs focusing on food insecurity. 

 

Funds from BWF were also used to purchase about $3000 worth of grocery gift cards (above) that will be distributed to local organizations serving Veterans, service members and their families.

Our community copntinues to get behind this massive effort.  As we got ready to post this story, the Grainger Family Foundation generously donated $25,000 to LCVFSF’s food insecurity effort.  These funds will support our foundation’s grocery gift card program (above) and will help sustain our long-term campaign to fight food insecurity in the Veteran community.  Thank you to all contributors: BWF, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the AbbVie Employee Resource Group and The Grainger Family Foundation. LCVFSF is pleased to work with each of them in our continuing fight against food insecurity in our Veteran and service member community.