Northern Illinois Food Bank

Northern Illinois Food Bank

Providing Healthy Food for our Neighbor Sirenio
Photo Caption
Sirenio receiving nutritious food
Photo Credit
Northern Illinois Food Bank

Sirenio’s message to donors “You are saving our lives by providing healthy food.”
A healthier diet is Sirenio’s prescription for regaining his independence.
We ran into Sirenio in March at the Erie Family Health Rx Mobile in Waukegan. He is 51 and disabled due to complications from diabetes.
The Rx Mobile is part of the Food Bank’s Build Healthy Communities Screen and Intervene initiative, which works with healthcare organizations and doctors to provide nutritious groceries for patients who are food insecure.
Sirenio would not be able to get healthy food if it wasn’t for the monthly Rx Mobiles, he says. “The obstacles I face to food security and buying healthy food are money and lack of transportation. Due to my health, I cannot work, and healthy food is expensive. Before I used to eat whatever I could get, and it made my health issues worse.” He explains that he couldn’t afford to be too picky about what he ate. And even now, without a job or transportation, he still worries about food. “That’s one of the things friends at church say, ‘Don’t worry, God will take care of you.’ But I worry.”
Sirenio says that almost two years since improving his diet through the Rx Mobile Market program, he has seen real benefits to his health. He is regaining his eyesight and feels a lot happier than he used to feel. His feet also seem to be improving as he doesn’t need to go to the doctor as often for treatments. Previously, Sirenio lost two toes on each foot due to complications and started losing his eyesight from his diabetes.
At a typical Rx Mobile, Sirenio says he receives milk, eggs, chicken and other lean meats, potatoes, onions and more vegetables, plus some frozen food.
Before Sirenio’s diabetes took his eyesight and his toes, he worked as a forklift operator. He has since lost his job and apartment. For the past couple of years, he has been living with a younger brother, sleeping on the couch. It’s a stressful living situation for them all. “I wish I could recover and look for a job and look for somewhere to live,” he says.

Northern Illinois Food Bank's 40 years of service

2023 marks Northern Illinois Food Bank’s 40th anniversary of solving hunger and empowering neighbors in our communities. Today Northern Illinois Food Bank works with a network of more than 900 food pantries, soup kitchens and feeding programs to provide 78 million meals a year to neighbors across 13 counties in suburban and rural northern Illinois. We provide fresh, nutritious food for families, seniors and individuals with dignity, equity and convenience. All of this was made possible because of one woman’s dream to solve hunger in her community 40 years ago.

Northern Illinois Food Bank
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