September 5, 2018 - An extra touch of sweetness was available at an Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry distribution earlier this month, compliments of the hardworking honeybees who call Village Hall home.
Village officials recently delivered 200 three-ounce jars of honey to the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, which provides hunger-relief programming and services to 13 zip codes across Cook County, including Oak Park, portions of Chicago and other nearby suburbs.
The donation came after about 50 pounds of honey was collected earlier this summer from the two honeybee hives installed this year on the small outdoor balcony above the south entrance to Village Hall.
The Village also maintains two beehives on the Public Works Center’s green roof. With populations of these critical pollinators on the decline, the Village’s goal is to create awareness of the importance of honeybees and promote a healthy environment for bees that can benefit local gardeners.
“Harvesting honey is an added bonus of our efforts to support local honeybee populations,” said Village Forestry superintendent Rob Sproule, who manages the project. “It seemed natural to share this tasty, local honey with members of the community who are in need.”
According to Feeding America, 1 in 7 people in Cook County are considered food insecure, meaning they do not know where their next meal is coming from. The Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry estimates more than 7,000 people in Oak Park alone are food insecure.
To reduce hunger locally, the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry hosts distributions several times each month at its location in the lower level of First United Church of Oak Park at 848 Lake Street. The pantry also offers services ranging from helping people connect to benefits like SNAP (food stamps) and Medicare Savings to nutrition education and cooking classes led by registered dieticians and summer meals for kids who lack them when school is out.
Throughout September the Food Pantry is participating in Hunger Action Month as a way to encourage members of the community to join in efforts to eliminate hunger in Oak Park and beyond.
Information about ways to volunteer, donate and get involved in supporting Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry is available at www.oprffoodpantry.org/news/september.
For more information about the Village’s beekeeping efforts, call 708.358.5778 or email email@example.com.
Oak Park property owners can establish up to two honeybee colonies as long as the apiaries meet specific Village code requirements. The Health Department has issued six licenses for residential beekeeping, which is regulated under Chapter 20, Article 11 of the Village Code.
For more information about beekeeping in Oak Park, call 708.358.5480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.