County Farm Bureau shopping spree benefits food pantries

Kane County Farm Bureau raises $2,000 for community during annual 5-minute grocery store race. 

By Marty Keltner

Kane County Farm Bureau recently hosted its 18th annual Shopping Spree at Jewel-Osco in Batavia. Each year, Farm Bureau invites two local public officials to participate in the 5-plus-minute race to collect as many food items as possible for a chosen local food pantry, providing hunger relief assistance.

Race participants included Sen. Donald DeWitte, R-St. Charles, and Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-DeKalb. DeWitte partnered with Tri-Cities Salvation Army in St. Charles, while Keicher partnered with Hinckley Area Food Pantry.

Following introductions and recognition of area partners in hunger relief, information was presented. For example, Americans, on average, spend only 10 percent of their disposable income on food. Typically, by February, they have earned enough to pay for the entire year’s food need. Even with these low costs, many people remain in need of help and the Shopping Spree was created to help address these needs.

Besides food staples, such as canned goods, local food pantries also need dairy products, which are rarely donated. Prior to the race, Kane County Farm Bureau Manager Steve Arnold proposed a milk toast chug to members of the audience. He explained the 10,000 Gallon Challenge campaign, which was conceived to provide funding for high-protein, nutritious dairy products to be bought for patrons of local food pantries.

Arnold also announced the county Farm Bureau would supplement the overall dollar amount collected by DeWitte and Keicher by purchasing $300 worth of dairy products for the food pantries represented in the spree.

After the milk toast, the contestants lined up their decorated shopping carts. The whistle blew, and DeWitte and Keicher were off! As they raced through the aisles, collecting as many food items as possible, they filled cart after cart as volunteers brought them more.

Collectively, more than $2,000 was raised to help the food pantries represented. Each participant was presented with a traveling trophy and check for the donation Kane County Farm Bureau would make to each pantry for the food collected. Both participants were winners in the fight against hunger.

Marty Keltner serves as communications specialist for Kane County Farm Bureau.