North Suburban YMCA Partners with Hunger Resource Network in 'Adopt a Student and Feed their Family' Holiday Food Drive

  • Field Middle School Social Worker Sandi Newman (left), and School Nurse Tania Gastelum, help collect food donations for the Hunger Resource Network.

    Field Middle School Social Worker Sandi Newman (left), and School Nurse Tania Gastelum, help collect food donations for the Hunger Resource Network. Courtesy of North Suburban YMCA

Updated 11/10/2020 10:46 AM

The North Suburban YMCA in partnership with the Hunger Resource Network (HRN) has announced a holiday donation drive for 160 students and their families. The "Adopt a Student and Feed their Family" food drive is aimed at making the holidays more impactful for local families while supporting local businesses and restaurants during the pandemic.

With the help of the community, the NSYMCA and HRN are asking residents to collect and donate specific food items purchased at local grocery stories, or purchase and donate gift cards from local restaurants and businesses for the families that need it most.


"When the Y heard about the Hunger Resource Network's efforts, we immediately wanted to make it our 'Holiday Giveback' project," said Kim Nyren, Director of Community Investment at North Suburban YMCA. "We're always looking for ways to support our partners and local businesses, so we incorporated the gift card donation as an option to support our families in need. "We're hoping that people who have the means to give will participate because our families and restaurants need all the help they can get, and their donation would be a full circle giveback."

Within the Northbrook area, 1 in 10 residents are food insecure, equaling about 4000 people, with the number growing due to COVID-19. There are almost 400 Northbrook students on the free or reduced lunch program in its public schools with Hunger Free Northbrook, a program of Hunger Resource Network, currently serving 160 students and their families across the twelve public schools in the area. The NSYMCA's "Holiday Giveback" program is incremental to Hunger Resource Network's monthly student food pack program, giving these families more support during the holidays.

"Thanks to the generosity of the community and the caring and giving spirit of the folks at the Y, we hope to feed our families, support our local businesses and share some family traditions together,"remarked Henry Fetta, Director/Vice President of Hunger Resource Network, adding, "Through the Hunger Free Northbrook Student Food Pack program, we are now serving 160 students who are food insecure and the need is especially great during this difficult time. The leadership team at the Y is always thinking about ways they can serve others in our community, so we are thrilled to have them on board with our efforts."

Participants of the food drive can adopt one of the 160 local students and their families by contributing in one of two ways:

1) Purchase a $25 gift card from a local grocery store to be used to buy a turkey, ham or perishable food item, and purchase specific list items from a local grocery store. The shopping link can be found at Cost: Approximately $50

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HRN is encouraging participants to include a favorite recipe so they can share their own family tradition during the holidays.

2) Purchase a $25 gift card from a local restaurant or retail business to give as a gift to the “adopted” family. Cost: $25

"Our mission at the Y is to support other non-profits like the Hunger Resource Network that share our dedication to helping others. Together, we can make a larger impact in our communities and our world. This is just one of the many ways the Y gives back to our families," commented Kathy Fielding, CEO of the NSYMCA.

Sponsors for NSYMCA's "Holiday Giveback" project include Covenant Living, Illinois Bone & Joint, Northwestern Medicine, Wintrust Community Banks and Waterway Carwash.

To "Adopt a Student and Feed their Family" for the NSYMCA Holiday Giveback or for more information, visit, or contact Kim Nyren, Director of Community Investment at or Tara Wesselink, Social Responsibility & Sustainability Coordinator at


All non-perishable food donations must be double brown-bagged and dropped off at the NSYMCA at 2705 Techny Road in Northbrook by December 9 during regular business hours. For participants unable to do their own shopping, the NSYMCA staff will do it for them.

About the North Suburban YMCA

The North Suburban YMCA services Northbrook and 14 surrounding communities with programs and tools that help its residents become healthier, more connected, and confident, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. The NSYMCA focuses on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility and is a charitable organization, inclusive and welcoming to all in our community. Learn more at

About Hunger Free Northbrook

Hunger Free Northbrook is a program initiated by the Hunger Resource Network, an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3), non-profit organization based in Northbrook, IL. Hunger Resource Network, founded in 2009, is dedicated to help alleviate hunger in the Chicago area by meeting the needs of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Learn more at

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