Food pantry coordinator provides relief for families
Updated: December 5, 2012 10:44AM
GLENVIEW — Mary Lou Kratochwill, Northfield Township Food Pantry coordinator, feels blessed during the holidays, but hopes for year-round relief for neighbors. Nearly 700 families are certified to use the Glenview-based Lake Avenue food pantry. While turkey donations are being distributed, there are still families this season having to worry about the extra financial burden the holidays bring. Contact Kratochwill at 847-486-8300.
Q. So Mary Lou, do tell about your job and your quest for everyone’s daily bread.
A. I coordinate volunteers and food, and make sure everyone’s getting their food like they should every month. I’m arranging for 300 turkeys to come in for the pantry clients who want turkey. It’s a very busy time here at the township.
Q. How does the holiday season speak to your heart?
A. This is a really special time and although it’s busy, and a lot of work, the look on people’s faces when they come in, everybody’s so grateful, everybody’s so kind, and it’s a really nice job to have at this time of the year because you make so many people, happy people, because you’re feeding them (their) basic needs.
Q. But it can be scary sometimes to look at those pantry shelves when they’re empty.
A. They’re a little bit empty right now. I’m hoping it’s going to pick up. We’ve got some people doing food drives. The community normally rallies around the food pantry around the holidays, so I’m hoping that the food will start pouring in very soon.
Q. An avid reader in your spare time, you’re a Glenview parent and neighbor too.
A. I am, I’ve been here about 20 years. My husband’s name is Dan and my son’s name is Bradley (25). And I’m really proud to be part of this community.
Q. How proud is your family of the job you do?
A. I think they feel pretty good. I think through me, I’ve taught them about community involvement and they’re much more aware of what goes on in the community and what the needs are. I think they’re proud. I think so.
Q. Mary Lou, the economy is getting better, right?
A. Not according to my pantry clients it isn’t. There are still a lot of families that are using the pantry.
Q. What is hope?
A. Hope means that things will get better for them, that they’ll find their way, if it’s through a divorce, or through sickness, or just finding a job, that they’ll find their way and hopefully not have to use the pantry forever. We do have clients that do find their way, so I’m hopeful that these folks will too.
Q. Some families have been using the food pantry for over a decade and can’t seem to wean themselves off.
A. You know, that’s how it is, and that’s okay. We’re here for those families as long as they need to be here. That’s what we do here.