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Education

First in-school food pantry opens in Algonquin-based School District 300

CARPENTERSVILLE – About 130 families attended the grand opening of the District 300 Food Pantry on Wednesday at Carpentersville Middle School, pantry president and Lake in the Hills resident Craig Raddatz said.

This is the first in-school food pantry for Algonquin-based School District 300 and Kane County, Raddatz said.

Raddatz said he saw a need for the pantry about two years ago while visiting District 300 schools with The Chapel’s mobile food pantry.

“One of our goals in the pantry was to develop a deep relationship with the neighborhood and people and discover their needs,” Raddatz said.

It was through conversations with school administrators and the Northern Illinois Food Bank that the District 300 Food Pantry nonprofit started, Raddatz said.

The pantry is expected to feed about 100 families, or 500 people, a week, he said, and will be open from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at 100 Cleveland Ave.

Students and families of District 300 are encouraged to take enough food to last a week, Raddatz said. Pantry users are asked to bring an ID, and bags or boxes to carry their food.

The Northern Illinois Food Bank administered a $35,000 grant from the Morgan Stanley Foundation to help build the pantry. Another $15,000 in donations from organizations, including the Rotary Club of Fox Valley Sunset, also was used, Raddatz said.

More than 20 local businesses and 75 volunteers also helped to complete the 900-square-foot pantry in what used to be half of a two-dock garage in the back of the school, Raddatz said.

“This was truly the village coming together,” Raddatz said.

The pantry is 100 percent volunteer run and donation reliant, Raddatz said. People interested in helping can contact him at craddatz@comcast.net.

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