Nicor Gas and the Goodr Foundation distribute groceries in the suburbs
BY TIA CAROL JONES
Nicor Gas has a goal of feeding 250,000 families in the Illinois area. They reached out to the Goodr Foundation, an Atlanta- based hunger relief and food waste solutions company that hosts pop-up grocery stores, to help with their endeavor.
During the weekend of Nov. 5-7, 2,500 families were fed in Joliet, Rockford and University Park. The goal was to feed as many people as possible during the events.
According to Nicor Gas and the United States Census Bureau, approximately 11% of Illinois residents live in poverty, which is more than the 830,000 individuals in Nicor Gas’ service area. Goodr’s focus is to provide groceries and food to families who are experiencing food insecurity or food deserts.
“This is the perfect partnership because we are all about feeding as many families as we can. We were able to partner with Nicor and their customers reaching their entire customer base. coming up there and feed families for at least a week,” said Betsy Neal, Goodr’s operation manager.
The locations were chosen based on Nicor’s customers needs from their database. Income levels were also a factor in choosing where to host the pop-ups. Nicor Gas serves more than 2.2 million customers, with a service area that includes a third of Northern Illinois, which does not include Chicago.
Neal would love to do more pop-up events and partner with Nicor to provide groceries for families. The plan is to continue the relationship through 2022 and beyond.
Neal was onsite during the events. There was a team of 10 people with her from Goodr. She directly interacted with Nicor’s customers at the events. The Goodr team helped people with registration and taking their bags to their cars, as well as navigating other resources such as weatherization kits and energy assistance that were available during the event. It was great for Neal to hear their stories.
The people were grateful to have Goodr and Nicor Gas there to assist them. People also wanted to know what Goodr was and why Nicor was hosting the popup. But mostly, they were appreciative to receive the groceries.
Each family received 40 meals to feed a family of four for about a week. It included a meat bag, filled with beef and chicken, a
shelf staple bag, a produce bag and dairy or non-dairy alternative, bread, eggs and juice.
At the University Park location, The First Baptist Church of University Park located at 450 University Parkway, it was
great for Neal to see families in the long line, calling other people, and telling them to come to the event to get food.
“Seeing them kind of light up and be like, ‘oh, I’m going to tell everyone right now,’ was just a great feeling. They just
felt such relief that they could pass the word along, even if they weren’t a Nicor customer. It really meant the world to them,” Neal said.
For more information about Goodr, visit https://goodr.co.