Full plates. Full Hearts. Full On.
All donations are tax deductible.
The first 150 donors who contribute $50 or more will receive a Project F_LL beanie.
Lake Forest School Districts 67 and 115 and Lake Bluff School District 65 have introduced PROJECT F_LL, a tri-district food collection and distribution initiative addressing the growing issue of food insecurity in Lake County.
According to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, hunger in the region is on the rise. In Lake County, about 6.9 percent of residents were considered food insecure in 2018. Due in part to the pandemic, that number climbed to nearly 12 percent at the end of 2020. In response, Districts 65, 67, and 115 students, staff, and families are partnering to establish ongoing collection and distribution of food for Lake County residents.
Project F_LL is the result of a collaboration among District students, staff, families, parent/guardian groups (APT, PTO), and school administration in Lake Bluff, Knollwood, and Lake Forest. The idea of the Tri-District Community Food Drive was sparked by Deer Path Middle School (DPM) sixth-grader Paul Helms."I wanted to get involved because I saw some shocking statistics,” says Paul. “One in four students in Lake County are experiencing food insecurity. I knew I couldn’t just let that number be, not when I had the chance to do something. So I offered to help." Then Paul enlisted one of his friends, fellow DPM sixth grader Brady Stadolnik, to design the Tri-District Community Food Drive’s heart-shaped logo. “We wanted to make a logo that shows two things: Food and Unity,” says Brady. “ That’s why it is a heart made of food.”
“Two students had a vision to bring hunger awareness in our school community,” says Deer Path Middle School fifth grade language arts and social studies teacher and food drive sponsor, Marissa Catanese. “It is exciting to see the idea grow to encompass three area school districts.”
F_LL Grocery Bags
Project F_LL will include a series of food drives as well as ongoing food distribution at Lake Forest and Lake Bluff schools and is open to all residents of Lake County. The food collection component of the program will kick off with a Tri-district Community Food Drive beginning the week of March 1. The public is invited to participate by contributing shelf-stable food items as well as monetary donations that will be used to purchase non-perishable food for Lake County families and raise awareness for the cause. It is estimated that it costs about $20 to “fill a grocery bag.''
The Districts have set a goal of filling at least 200 bags every month with non-perishables during the Tri-district Community Food Drive. Food may be dropped off at all schools in the three Districts as follows:
- In District 65, food collection will take place at Lake Bluff Elementary School and Lake Bluff Middle School during the first week of each month for the balance of the school year:
- March 1-4
- March 29 - April 1
- April 31 - May 6
- In District 67, food collection will take place at all District 67 schools every Wednesday for the balance of the school year, beginning March 3.
- In District 115, food collection will take place at Lake Forest High School every Tuesday and Friday, for the balance of the school year, beginning Tuesday, March 2.
Items to donate: non-perishable, kid-friendly foods, such as mac & cheese, cereal, canned pasta, tuna, crackers, granola bars, peanut butter, and jelly.
Financial contributions to support the purchase of additional shelf-stable food items and raise awareness may be made here. All donations are tax deductible. The first 150 donors who contribute $50 or more will receive a Project F_LL beanie.
Lake Forest and Lake Bluff schools, in partnership with Quest Food Management Services, are currently participating in a special meal pickup program funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Breakfast includes an entree, fresh fruit, and milk; lunch includes a reheatable entree, fruit, vegetable, and milk. No registration, income verification, or ordering ahead are required. “Since its launch in November 2020, we have worked with the Lake Bluff and Lake Forest Schools to distribute more than 90,000 meals to our neighbors in Lake County,” says Quest Food Management Services President, Nicholas Saccaro. “There is clearly a need and we are pleased to help.”
This free meal program is available to all families with children 18 years of age and younger. Families are invited to pick up meal kits for each child in their family on:
- Mondays (8:00-9:00 AM) and Thursdays (4:00-5:00 PM) at Lake Bluff Elementary School, 350 W Washington Ave, Lake Bluff, IL 60044
- Tuesdays and Thursdays (8:00 - 10:30 AM) at Deer Path Middle School, 95 W. Deerpath, Lake Forest IL 60045
- Tuesdays and Thursdays (4:00 - 6:00 PM) at Lake Forest High School, 1285 N. McKinley Road, Lake Forest, IL 60045
Families picking up meals at Lake Forest High School will also be offered a bag of shelf-stable food items collected during the Tri-district Community Food Drive on the following dates:
- Tuesday, March 16 (4:00 - 6:00 PM)
- Thursday, April 8 (4:00 - 6:00 PM)
- Tuesday, May 13 (4:00 - 6:00 PM)
We are pleased to announce a new partnership with the Northern Illinois Food Bank intended to supplement our offerings with food boxes that contain fresh protein, dairy, and produce. These boxes (approximately 30-pounds each) are meant as family boxes and will be offered on an occasional basis as supply becomes available. Please watch our Project F_LL website for updates on F_LL family box availability.
For Additional Information
Nate Blackmer, Lake Bluff School District 65
Melissa Oakley, Lake Forest School Districts 67 and 115
Margi Hamilton, Quest Food Management Services