EYFP celebrates new warehouse acquisition; ECCI, mayor attend ribbon-cutting; demand for services continues to rise

By Dee Longfellow

DEE LONGFELLOW PHOTO Elmhurst Independent
EYFP opens new warehouse facility
The Elmhurst Yorkfield Food Pantry (EYFP) held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting for its new warehouse space located at 501 W. Lake St., just off Church Rd. in Elmhurst’s north industrial park. The new facility will allow the EYFP to collect and store more donations, while compassionately serving more families as demand continues to increase. Story and more photos inside.

The weather was overcast on Sunday, April 28 when the Elmhurst Yorkfield Food Pantry (EYFP) hosted a grand opening celebration of its new warehouse facility located at 501 W. Lake St. in Elmhurst’s north industrial park. The weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the many people who attended the event, who were all smiles as they toured the extensive space.

In attendance were the Ambassadors of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ECCI), who conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with Mayor Scott Levin and the EYFP Board members and volunteers.

The EYFP began in 1983, when it operated out of a closet in the basement of Yorkfield Presbyterian Church in Elmhurst. In 1996, the pantry moved to the 650 square-foot basement of a small cottage owned by the church. In 2014, the EYFP became a separate, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

In 2016, there was a move to a 2500 square-foot facility next to Yorkfield Presbyterian, as the needs of the community continued to grow. On Sunday, EYFP celebrated its new 6,000 square-foot warehouse space to meet food storage needs that continue to rise – and demand continues to increase.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for the EYFP’s services skyrocketed as people found themselves in dire straits. According to EYFP executive director Kathy Watts, the need has doubled since Covid subsided.

“Ever since Covid, we’ve seen twice as much demand as previously,” she said. “For families, prices are still very high out there but for most of them, income has not kept up, it hasn’t bounced back at the same pace, so people are still struggling.”

Even the nicest facility with the most bountiful space cannot operate without the help of numerous volunteers. There are a variety of opportunities to help EYFP including sorting, stocking shelves and recovery. There is a continuing flow of food items that need to be processed, sorted and stocked in preparation for client shopping days. There is a need for people to assist clients, check them in, help with shopping and loading, etc. Volunteer drivers are also needed for transporting reclaimed food items from local food retailers. Drivers must be 21 years of age, with a valid Illinois driver’s license and must be able to lift cases that weigh up to 50 pounds. If you’d like to volunteer or for more information about EYFP, call 630-782-1066 or visit eyfp.org.