Updated: Dec 18, 2019
TOUCH MY HEART FRESH MARKET IN NAPERVILLE It happens all the time. I make a large meal for my family and so much of it is left over, whether still on my kid’s plates or in the cookware.
Sometimes our leftovers get eaten, sometimes they don’t.
Eating and food supply establishments also often find themselves with surplus food that they do not have use for. In Naperville, the Touch My Heart Fresh Market program found a way to make use of that surplus by picking up food from various sources and delivering it to Special Needs Group Homes and families in need.
The organization began distributing end-of-day breads, bagels and pastries from Panera in 2010. Since then they have grown their list of surplus food sources allowing them to deliver food four times each week.
“The Group Homes we serve are only allocated a small amount of money each month through the state to meet the food, dietary and toiletry needs of the home,” says Rick Montalbano, Jr., President and CEO of Touch My Heart. “The TMH Food Distribution Project is helping to relieve a huge financial burden by supplying food items and allowing for the state funds to be spent on other needed items.”
TMH runs large outreach events where the special needs community can come together and be loved and not judged; 80% of this community are wards of the state and 20% still reside with their aging families/caregivers. Their aim is to enrich lives not only with nutrition, but recreation, education and socialization as well.
Fundraising events, sponsorship programs and contributions are how this project is supported. Along with funds, they are currently seeking donated office/warehouse space for storage and refrigeration of food and nutritional products to enable them to expand their reach to more of the community. Contributions of gas and store cards for supplies are also a big help. There is plenty of opportunity to jump in and volunteer for pick-ups, sorting, distribution and events. “We are always having fun,” says Rick. “There is food to be shared! It is seriously like a constant party.”
For more information on Touch My Heart and their activities and programs, visit touchmyheartusa.org
Mindy’s October Giving Inspiration: A fall cleaning of your pantry to find canned goods that could be donated to a food drive or an organization like TMH.
ABOUT THE WRITER Mindy Kyle is the owner of Be Inspired Studios and is passionate about helping people discover what brings them joy and to live a full, healthy and happy life. She has her Masters in Fine Arts degree in creative writing from DePaul University and lives in Naperville with her husband, three children and the cutest dog in the land.