Community Bank Awards Champion Grant to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry

Oak Park, IL, January 12, 2012 … Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest is pleased to announce that the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry is the recipient of Community Bank’s Champion Grant. The purpose of the Champion Grant is to assist organizations in providing community outreach programs for low or moderate income individuals.

For 35 years, the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry has provided hunger relief, benefits counseling and nutritional counseling for low-income residents from 28 zip codes in Cook County.  Communities served the the Pantry include Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Maywood, Bellwood, Broadview, Melrose Park, and the Austin and Humboldt Park neighborhoods of Chicago.  Annually, the Pantry serves over 48,000 individuals and distributes over half a million pounds of food.  The Pantry has grown beyond the traditional model of distributing food, and today encourages nutritional eating habits by  distributing lean meats, low-fat dairy products, multi-grain breads, and fresh produce.  The Pantry also helps clients achieve true food security by linking them to federal benefits such as SNAP (“food stamps”).  The SNAP program helps low-income families achieve economic stability.  

A grant in the amount of $1,000 was presented to Kathy Russell, Executive Director of the Pantry, and Michele Zurakowski, Director of Operations for the Pantry, on Thursday, January 12.  Bernard D. Headley II, Community Lending Specialist for Community Bank, presented the grant.  The Pantry will use the Champion Grant to help increase the number of families served by the SNAP program. 

Through the Champion Grant, Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest encourages growth and support in economically challenged communities.  Champion Grants will be awarded to qualifying organizations throughout the year.  The Champion Grant application is available on the Community Bank website.    

Community Bank has been a frequent facilitator of financial literacy events, and during its fifteen year history, Community Bank has donated over $2 million to various local civic and charitable organizations. Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest was organized in 1996 as a locally owned bank focused on creating financial solutions for individuals, professionals, owners of closely-held businesses and nonprofit organizations.  Community Bank, which had assets of $351 million as of December 31, 2010, has two locations: 1001 Lake Street, Oak Park and 7777 Lake Street, River Forest.


Bernard D. Headley II, Community Lending Specialist for Community Bank, presents the Champion Grant to Kathy Russell, Executive Director of the Pantry, and Michele Zurakowski, Director of Operations for the Pantry, as well as many dedicated volunteers.

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