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CCFB News» April 2023

Cook County Farm Bureau and Partners Raise Cash and Food Donations for Local Food Pantries

04/12/2023 @ 10:30 am

Cook County Farm Bureau® Celebrates its 23rd Annual Food Checkout Day


Together with partners, Cook County Farm Bureau® donated much needed food staples to four Cook County food pantries. Donations were raised in celebration of Food Checkout Day. Food Checkout Day celebrates the healthy and nutritious food local farmers grow and raise by providing food or cash donations to people in need.


In light of the tremendous pressure created by inflation, Cook County Farm Bureau matched members’ monetary donations. Over $10,000 was donated to local Cook County pantries in celebration of Food Checkout Day this year and the healthy and nutritious food grown and raised by local farmers. The donations directly benefited the one in seven individuals in Cook County who are hungry.


Partner food pantries, Alicia’s House, South Chicago Heights; All Saints Food Pantry, Palatine; Niles Township Food Pantry, Skokie; and Together we Cope, Tinley Park were selected by local representatives from COUNTRY Financial®. Representatives were from the following COUNTRY Financial agencies: Chicago North, Chicago South, Chicago Northwest, and Orland Park.


“Cook County and Illinois farmers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food for our families and for others,” said Janet McCabe, President of Cook County Farm Bureau®. “Food Checkout Day allows us to recognize the importance of healthy, nutritious food while supporting local families in need, especially during this time of elevated food prices.”


For 20 years, Cook County Farm Bureau partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Through the generosity of partners for nearly two decades, Farm Bureau donated over $145,000 and nearly 100,000 pounds of food.


In 2012, and again in 2021, Farm Bureau’s food pantry efforts were named a Summit Award winner by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The Summit Award recognizes the positive impact that non-profit associations have on their community.


Thank you to the following individuals who donated cash:


Alicia’s House, South Chicago Heights

Robin Scheldberg

Susan and Michael Schumer

Phyllis Vandermolen


All Saints Food Pantry, Palatine

Don and Linda Anderson

Larry and Sharon Barr

Janet McCabe


Niles Township Food Pantry, Skokie

Mike Basile

Malgorzata Jura

Natasha Neskovic

Vicki Nygren

Bob Sitkiewica

Agents of Chicago North COUNTRY Financial


Together We Cope, Tinley Park

Jim Andresen

Dan Gallivan

Tom Geraghty

Tim Hartnell

Kyle Hastings

Karen Kavalas

Terry LeMastus

Julie and Dwayne Michaels

George Parthemore

Tony Palumbo

Bob and Jayne Rohrer

Piero Setta

Cary Tate


On March 8, Kevin Gomes, Chicago Northwest COUNTRY Financial Agency Manager, was presented the coveted Tipping the Scale award for this year’s Food Checkout Day events by Cook County Farm Bureau President Janet McCabe. Kevin’s Chicago Northwest COUNTRY Financial Agency earned the recognition through the largest accumulation of points combining food donations with cash donations.


Thank you to all the members, supporters, and COUNTRY Financial representatives who donated non-perishable food items.


Donations matched by the Farm Bureau to local food pantries that were not partner pantries:

Pamela Bruns, donation to Elk Grove Township Food Pantry

Kathy Engert, donation to the Common Pantry

Mike Rauch, donation to Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry


Food Checkout Day is possible only through the efforts of volunteers, including Farm Bureau leadership and committee members and Chicago North, Chicago South, Northwest, and Orland Park COUNTRY Financial representatives and staff members. Volunteers were integral to the success of the shopping spree portion of Food Checkout Day.



Jim Andresen, COUNTRY Financial Orland Park Agency

Dan Biernacki

Karen Biernacki

Bryan Blau

Linda Bosy

Laura Elkins, COUNTRY Financial Orland Park Agency

Jim Gutzmer

Bona Heinsohn

Matt Huonder, COUNTRY Financial Chicago Northwest Agency

Kyle Huppe, COUNTRY Financial Orland Park Agency

Gerry Kopping

Linda Kopping

Janet McCabe

Liana Mierendorf, COUNTRY Financial Orland Park Agency

Natasha Neskovic, COUNTRY Financial Chicago North Agency

Tim Perchinski, COUNTRY Financial Chicago South Agency

Tino Ramirez, COUNTRY Financial Chicago Northwest Agency

Bob Rohrer

Mike Rauch

Ciria Serrano, COUNTRY Financial Chicago North Agency

Sharon Stemke, COUNTRY Financial Northeast Agency

Linda Tobias

Diane Tom, COUNTRY Financial Chicago Northwest Agency

Mark Yunker

Lisa Zielinski, COUNTRY Financial Orland Park Agency


As the county’s largest general farm organization, Cook County Farm Bureau® is dedicated to bridging the gap between farmers and urban consumers. Through education programs targeting youth and their parents and programs designed to connect farmers with potential consumers, Farm Bureau members are actively engaging in conversations about food and the shared values between farmers and consumers.


Farm Bureau volunteers Gerry Kopping and Mike Rauch assisted Juan Hernandez (pictured left) load food donations from Alicia’s House in South Chicago Heights. Alicia’s House is dedicated to Alicia who loved people and loved helping people. Alicia’s House serves the communities of Beecher, Crete, Steger, Peotone, University Park, Monee, and South Chicago Heights. Alicia’s House was selected by Chicago South COUNTRY Financial Representatives.


We’re excited to announce that the Chicago Northwest COUNTRY Financial Agency is this year’s ‘Tipping the Scales’ winner! Representatives and their clients raised significant financial and food donations for All Saints Food Pantry in Palatine.


Cook County Commissioner Josina Morita (pictured left) joined Farm Bureau volunteers and COUNTRY Financial agents and staff Food Checkout Day food delivery at the Niles Township Food Pantry in Skokie. Niles Township Food Pantry serves over 1,000 families in the area. With the assistance of the Niles Township Food Pantry Foundation, the pantry is able to provide assistance five days a week. Niles Township Food Pantry was selected by Chicago North COUNTRY Financial representatives.


Shoppers completed their donation to Together We Cope. Volunteers and leaders donated a substantial number of non-perishable food items as well as cash donations. Since their fire in 2022, Together We Cope has been providing families with emergency food bags directly from their office.


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