Top Food Banks in Illinois – Locations and Services

Food banks in Illinois are crucial in the fight against hunger, providing essential services to ensure that those in need have access to nutritious food. This article highlights the primary food banks operating across the state, explaining their functions and importance in the community.

Springfield Food Bank

Central Illinois Foodbank

Central Illinois Foodbank, founded in 1982 by a group of concerned citizens and organizations, is a private, non-profit organization focused on alleviating hunger and promoting healthy communities. The food bank collects and distributes millions of pounds of food annually to local food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.

Address: 1937 E. Cook Street, Springfield, IL 62703
Service Counties: Adams, Bond, Brown, Cass, Christian, Effingham, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby
Website: Central Illinois Foodbank

Urbana Food Bank

Eastern Illinois Foodbank

Established in 1983 by local community leaders and organizations as a private, non-profit entity, Eastern Illinois Foodbank is dedicated to eliminating hunger in eastern Illinois. It provides food to regional agencies to support families and individuals facing food insecurity.

Address: 2405 North Shore Drive, Urbana, IL 61802
Service Counties: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Edgar, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Livingston, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt, Vermilion, Woodford
Website: Eastern Illinois Foodbank

Chicago Food Bank

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Founded in 1979 by a coalition of civic and community leaders, including the late Sister Patricia Crowley, the Greater Chicago Food Depository is a private, non-profit organization. It serves a network of 700 partner agencies including food pantries and shelters, ensuring food reaches those in need in Chicago and surrounding areas.

Address: 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago, IL 60632
Service County: Cook
Website: Greater Chicago Food Depository

Geneva Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank

Established in 1983 by a group of local community leaders and businesses, Northern Illinois Food Bank is a private, non-profit organization that distributes food to over half a million people annually through various programs and partnerships.

 They have distribution centers in 4 locations.

Peoria Food Bank

Peoria Area Food Bank

Since its establishment in 1984 by a coalition of local organizations and concerned citizens, Peoria Area Food Bank has been a cornerstone in the fight against hunger. It is a private, non-profit organization that supports local food pantries with necessary food supplies. The Peoria Area Food Bank offers several programs, including Mobile Pantries that reach under-served areas in Mason, Peoria, and Tazewell Counties, a BackPack Program to provide food to children on weekends, and partnerships with over 80 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. They also offer a SNAP Outreach Program to help people determine their eligibility and apply for benefits.

Address: 721 W. McBean Street, Peoria, IL 61605
Service Counties: Mason, Peoria, Tazewell
Website: Peoria Area Food Bank

Davenport Food Bank

River Bend Food Bank

River Bend Food Bank, serving the Quad Cities area since 1982, was founded by local civic leaders and community groups as a private, non-profit organization. It works to end hunger by distributing food to those in need and advocating for hunger solutions. Each year, River Bend Food Bank distributes over 20 million meals through its network of hunger-relief partners and programs. Their programs include a Backpack Program that provides weekend meals to 3,000 children during the school year, Mobile Food Pantries that serve food deserts and rural communities, and pantries located inside schools and senior living complexes. They also offer SNAP Outreach & Empowerment to help people understand and apply for benefits, and organize annual Student and Community Hunger Drives to raise food and funds.

Address: 4010 Kimmel Drive, Davenport, IA 52802
Service Counties: Bureau, Carroll, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Jo Daviess, Knox, LaSalle, Lee, Marshall, McDonough, Mercer, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Warren, Whiteside
Website: River Bend Food Bank

St. Louis Food Bank

St. Louis Area Foodbank

Founded in 1975 by local business leaders and community organizations, the St. Louis Area Foodbank is a private, non-profit organization. It supports food distribution efforts in both Missouri and Illinois, focusing on eliminating hunger in the bi-state area. The St. Louis Area Foodbank offers several programs to support those in need, including Food on the Move, which increases access by eliminating transportation barriers, and Community Mobile Markets, which deliver food monthly to partner agencies. They also hold Pop-Up Food Fairs in areas with limited food assistance options and participate in the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to provide nutrition assistance to low-income Americans. Additionally, they offer the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) to provide nutrient-rich foods to low-income seniors, and School Markets to provide food to children and their families on school campuses. Their Transitional Housing Food Program works with local shelters to support families moving to their own homes.

Address: 70 Corporate Woods Drive, St. Louis, MO 63044
Service Counties: Calhoun, Clinton, Franklin, Jackson, Jersey, Madison, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington, Williamson
Website: St. Louis Area Foodbank

Evansville Food Bank

Tri-State Food Bank

Tri-State Food Bank, founded in 1982 by a coalition of concerned citizens and community leaders, is a private, non-profit organization. It works across state lines to provide food assistance, ensuring comprehensive support in southern Illinois. The Tri-State Food Bank offers several programs to support those in need, including the BackPack Program, which provides weekend meals to children, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for seniors, and the Mobile Food Distribution Program, which delivers food to underserved areas.

Address: 2504 Lynch Road, Evansville, IN 47711
Service Counties: Alexander, Edwards, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Johnson, Lawrence, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Richland, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White
Website: Tri-State Food Bank

How Illinois Food Banks Operate

Illinois food banks collect surplus food from manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and community donations. This food is stored in large warehouses where it undergoes inspection, sorting, and repacking. Once prepared, the food is distributed to local agencies such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters, which then provide the food directly to individuals and families in need. This systematic approach ensures that food is efficiently distributed throughout the state, reaching various communities, including rural and urban areas.

How to Donate to Food Banks in Illinois

Donating to food banks is a critical way to support their mission and help those in need. Here are specific ways you can contribute to the major food banks in Illinois:

  1. Monetary Donations: Most food banks accept financial contributions through their websites. These donations help purchase food, fund operations, and support various hunger-relief programs.
  2. Food Donations: You can donate non-perishable food items directly to the food banks. Check their websites for specific needs and drop-off locations.
  3. Volunteer: Offering your time to sort food, pack boxes, or assist with distributions can make a significant impact. Volunteer opportunities are often listed on the food banks’ websites.
  4. Host a Food Drive: Organize a food drive at your workplace, school, or community group to collect food donations. Food banks provide guidelines and promotional materials to help you get started.

Importance of Illinois Food Banks

Food banks in Illinois are essential for addressing food insecurity and hunger. They play a critical role in redistributing surplus food, reducing food waste, and providing nutritional support to vulnerable populations. By partnering with local agencies, food banks can extend their reach and ensure that even the most remote communities receive necessary assistance. These efforts help maintain the health and well-being of Illinois residents by providing consistent access to nutritious food.

Illinois food banks, such as Central Illinois Foodbank, Eastern Illinois Foodbank, Greater Chicago Food Depository, and others, are vital in combating hunger and ensuring food security across the state. Through their extensive network of partner agencies, these food banks efficiently collect, store, and distribute food to those in need. Their work supports the health and well-being of Illinois residents, making a significant impact on the community. For more detailed information on specific food banks and how to support their efforts, visit their respective websites.