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Districts Unite to Help Address Hunger in Lake County

The Great Full Market

More than 130 families participated in the Great Full Market.

School Districts 65, 67, and 115 helped ensure that scores of families had a more bountiful Thanksgiving through the Great Full Market, a free pop-up farmers market held in partnership with Waukegan’s Beacon Place on Nov. 14.

The Great Full Market

Shoppers at the Great Full Market had their choice of 2,500 canned items collected and donated by Lake Bluff Elementary School families.

The market, which served 500 people, featured fresh produce, canned goods, sample healthy holiday recipes, music, activities for children, and treats including hot chocolate and churros.

The Great Full Market

Caroline Lee (left) and Molly Kelley from Salty Dog Cafe (right) helped out with the Lotería game.

Quest Food Management Services, the food service company for each of the Districts, donated 6,000 pounds of fresh produce and dry goods and students at Lake Bluff Elementary School collected more than 2,500 canned-goods items for the market, said Lake Forest High School Activities Director Ashleigh Malec. Churros y Chocolate from Algonquin served 350 churros, Ms. Malec said, adding that the churros were underwritten by a donor but Churros y Chocolate provided the churros at cost and delivered them hot and fresh on Sunday, a day that business is not usually open. Also, she said, on that chilly November day market attendees happily enjoyed 400 cups of hot chocolate. “We ran out of cups,” she added.

The Great Full Market

Jason Rosegay, District 115 Quest Food Service Director from Quest Food Management Services, and daughter Madalyn shared a cooking demonstration and samples of Caramel Apple Crisp with shoppers at the Great Full Market.

Dr. Matthew Montgomery, superintendent of Districts 67 and 115, said the Great Full Market was “our way of saying, ‘we see you and we care about you,’ to our neighbors in Lake County who may be hungry.”

The market was the first event of the 2021-2022 school year for the Tri-District Project Full initiative, which addresses food insecurity in Lake County. On site, Ms. Malec said, were 68 volunteers, including from sponsor Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. Additional sponsors included District 67 and 115 APTs, Lewis Fresh Market, and Forest Greens Juice Bar.

The Great Full Market

Representatives from Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital discussed pediatric nutrition with shoppers at the Great Full Market.

“We worked to get the word out to the Waukegan community and you could tell all of the volunteers were there having fun and that made it feel like such a fun day for all involved — volunteers and families,” she said. “My favorite part was walking into the Annex at Beacon Place and seeing all of the DPM and LFHS students playing Lotería with younger children. They were handing out prizes, making bracelets, and enjoying their morning together.”

Additionally, the District 67 APT’s annual H.U.G.S. (Help Us Give Support) Thanksgiving Food Drive earlier in November collected enough food to fill 300 bags, said Becky Nagel, co-chair of the District 67 APT Executive Board’s Community Service Committee. Those donations of corn muffin mix, canned chicken or turkey broth, canned corn and another canned vegetable, rice, canned fruit, canned beans, and stuffing mix were delivered to food pantries throughout Lake County. 

The Great Full Market

LFHS APT member Cariann Rice served as volunteer coordinator for the Great Full Market.

The Great Full Market

LFHS Director of Student Activities and Great Full Market organizer Ashleigh Malec is pictured with Peggy Talbot, one of the founders of Beacon Place.

The Great Full Market

Volunteers at the Great Full Market (pictured above and below) bag hundreds of pounds of dry goods donated by Quest Food.

The Great Full Market