Press Releases

From the Elmhurst Doings November 6, 2008

Elmhurst residents launch an assault against hunger

Mindy Krissinger Around the Elms

I am hungry. I hunger for change and am excited that with the recent election behind us, change may eventually occur in our country. I hunger for knowledge, and I find myself constantly seeking out answers to various questions that the voices in my head throw my way throughout the day. And I hunger for happiness and peace for others.  

But for many, attaining happiness involves conquering the kind of hunger that is literal, visceral and very, very real.

I have always admired people who take their desire for change and make it reality. Two Elmhurst residents, Jim and Nancy Ruprecht, are doing just that by running a private foundation focused on meeting the needs of children. And this weekend, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Francesca's Amici, they will announce a $300,000 Challenge Grant, through their foundation, to support the Northern Illinois Food Bank

The Ruprechts will announce the foundation's challenge to others to step up and provide help for NIFB, the second largest food bank in Illinois. This grant will match donations made by Elmhurst residents, businesses and community organizations over the next three years.

"Hunger is a major issue in northern Illinois and will only get worse. As the economic pressures grow, with prices for food and fuel continuing at near record levels, this problem is not going away soon, if ever," stated Jim Ruprecht, president of Thing 1-2-3 Foundation and NIFB.

"Nancy and I recognize that Northern Illinois Food Bank has become one of Illinois' most effective resources against hunger in the past 25 years. We want to make a difference helping the food bank as it now faces a huge challenge."

NIFB has run out of space to handle the food needed to serve the thousands of clients it helps each week. It will distribute 25 million pounds of food this year and will have trouble meeting this demand. Freezer and refrigeration space is limited, and they do not have a warehouse that accommodates the volume of food required to meet this need.

Additionally, with demand for food projected to grow to more than 40 million pounds in the next eight to 10 years, it will become impossible to feed all the hungry people in our communities.

"Thing 1-2-3 Foundation's Challenge Grant will go towards helping the Food Bank raise funds to build a new Community Nutrition and Food Distribution facility," according to a foundation press release.

NIFB, a member of Feeding America, acquires donated food from retailers, manufacturers, corporations and community resources and distributes it through more than 520 food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens and other nonprofit food assistance sites.

It helps nearly 300,000 people living in poverty in 13 northern Illinois counties outside of Cook.

"Not only has the demand for food (in Illinois) grown, but with programs including Youth Nutrition, Backpack and Summer Lunch programs, the breadth of people (NIFB) serves has grown," explained Ruprecht.

Thing 1-2-3 Foundation was founded in 1999 and inspired by "The Cat In the Hat," by Dr. Seuss. According to the foundation's Web site, their children quickly identified with the Cat's two helpers, Thing 1 and Thing 2. So when they started the foundation, which is focused on helping children, the name was a natural way to reflect their love for their children and a desire to help.

Since its formation in 1999, past grant recipients from the foundation have included the 3 Fires Council Champions Program (scouting program for local boys with special needs), Relay for Life of Elmhurst, Stay Focused (empowerment program for local mobility-challenged teens), District 205 Foundation and Children's Memorial Hospital.

For more information on Thing 1-2-3 Foundation, please call (630) 531-5077 or visit www.thing123.org.

For a pledge form to assist the NIFB and qualify for the foundation match, go to the foundation's Web site under the Elmhurst Challenge heading. You may also donate online.

For more information on NIFB, visit www.northernilfoodbank.org or call (630) 443-6910.

-- Readers can contact Mindy Krissinger by leaving a message at (630) 320-5424 or sending an e-mail to doingsnews@pioneerlocal.com.