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DoorDash delivers food from the Northern Illinois Food Bank to families in need

CHICAGO (CBS) – Food distribution sites throughout the Chicago area ensure that people in need can feed their families, but what happens if one of those people can't make it to the food bank?

The Northern Illinois Food Bank has a solution: It's using DoorDash drivers to deliver food like a restaurant.

David Kierna is a DoorDash driver and just one of dozens of drivers who pick up food at the Northern Illinois Food Bank distribution center in Lake Forest to deliver to people in need.

“It feels good to bring food to people, especially these days. People are not feeling well and they are getting something to eat,” he said.

Randy Stotz runs the Lake Forest distribution center, where families place orders through a dedicated website, the food bank packages the orders and the call to DoorDash comes in at 5:45 p.m. on delivery days. Within minutes, drivers arrive at the parking lot to pick up and deliver orders.

“This program is designed to help people who can’t make it to food banks,” Stotz said. “One of our jobs is to make sure the people who need it most get the food. They can just go online and order the food they need and they know it will just be delivered to their home.”

Anyone who has their table orders delivered does not have to pay for delivery. Drivers are paid by the food bank and through a grant from DoorDash.

Deliveries are open to everyone and are sensitive to those who may feel embarrassed.

“We are fighting the stigma that comes with going to a food bank. This is one of the other main reasons people shy away from going to a food bank. This way they don’t have to do that,” Stotz said.

Kierna's delivery took him to Gurnee and the home of Onesha Gaiter, who doesn't have a car and therefore can't go to the pantry to get food for herself and her daughter.

“It feels good to just have it delivered to my door,” Gaiter said. “I wake up and I'm like, 'Ooh, it's being delivered today.'”

Each week, DoorDash delivers 1,000 orders for the Northern Illinois Food Bank. DoorDash began funding food bank deliveries nationwide in 2018. The Northern Illinois Food Bank joined the program in 2021.

Earlier this year, DoorDash provided another round of funding to keep the program running.

Anna Harden

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