April Food Day scheduled for Tuesday

Adrian Holman

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is sponsoring April Food Day on Tuesday, April 20. The Food Day is done annually to restock food pantries throughout the state of Illinois. The food drive will be held tomorrow from 10 AM to 12 PM CST.

During this pandemic, many people that have fell on hard times over the past year had to turn to food pantries in order to stave off starvation. Throughout the USA, there has been a 30 to 60 percent increase of people visiting food pantries.

Nevertheless, the April Food Day is held annually in order to replenish pantries throughout America after the Easter Holiday. I do not know if April Food Day was intentionally scheduled for 4/20 because 420 Day is the biggest day of the year for cannabis users. Marijuana has been scientifically proven to increase the appetite due to the active ingredient known as THC.

The food items that are suggested to be donated tomorrow are basic staples that will not spoil and are needed for survival. Please buy in bulk if possible so that these inventories can be fully restocked at food pantries throughout the state.

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Here is a list of items that can be donated.

1. 100% fruit/vegetable juice. Juice can last two to three months past the expiration date in storage.

2. Bagged rice/beans. Beans and rice are staples in any culture. Bagged rice and beans can last six to eight months past the expiration date.

3. Canned fruits/canned vegetables. Canned fruits and canned vegetables are sealed airtight so the expiration date does not matter unless the can has been opened. Donating canned fruits and canned vegetables is the best way to know that what you donate will not go to waste.

4. Canned meats/canned stews. Canned meats and canned stews are also sealed, but their expiration is two years after the expiration date.

5. Cereal/oatmeal/granola bars. Cereal, oatmeal, and granola bars are processed grains that last at least six months past the expiration date.

6. Infant supplies. Normally, infant supplies are always in demand at pantries, so they are not stored. These items are given to families before the expiration date because nobody should knowingly feed babies expired food. Having to go through this pandemic raising a baby has to be extra difficult because the supplies and the medical care increase expenses exponentially.

7. Laundry detergent. People do not want their clothes to be dirty on purpose, but the cost of detergent hits the wallet hard.

8. Peanut butter and jelly. PB&J lasts about one month after the expiration date, but these two items go quickly because the children need healthy snacks to eat on a daily basis.

9. Toiletries and personal items. These items include soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and feminine products. A majority of people that go to food pantries are women because some are single mothers looking to raise their children the best way that they can. Also, not too many men go to pantries too often because of pride. Get out of the pride right now because we all need help at this time.

Here are the four food pantries that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois are sponsoring in this food drive. If you are in the area of any of these four pantries, then drop off a few items. If you are not near to any of these four pantries, then stock up the closest pantry to you. You never know when you would ever be in a pinch where you had to be in line at a food pantry. Nobody wants to receive food from a food pantry, but these times are different.

Please show your support to these four food pantries. I will list their addresses so that you will be able to drop off some supplies or if you want to donate by mail.

Christ Pantry Joliet - 402 Singleton Place - Joliet, IL 60436

4Kids Sake Inc. Food Pantry and Enrichment Center - 192 Lily Cache Ln - Bolingbrook, IL 60440

Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry - 834 N. Highland Avenue - Aurora, IL 60506

The Salvation Army of Springfield - 1600 E Clear Lake Avenue - Springfield, IL 62703

Image from Pixabay - be somebody's angel tomorrow and donate some food. Food expiration dates sourced from EatByDate.com. For further information on April Food Day, you can contact Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois at www.bcbsil.com.

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