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Downstate farmers team up with Senate President to help Chicago’s hungry

Corn delivery 2CHICAGO – Illinois Senate President John Cullerton thanked a group of downstate farmers for delivering a truckload of sweet corn Friday to Common Pantry on the city’s North Side to help area families.

“I appreciate their generosity. This is a tremendous opportunity for people from different parts of the state to work together, realize we’re all neighbors and remind ourselves of how great the people of Illinois can be,” Cullerton said.

Cullerton met the farmers at Common Pantry and helped unload the corn. Common Pantry will distribute the load to other area pantries.

Jeremy Thomas and his sons were among the downstate contingent making the delivery. Thomas farms near Pittsfield and is vice president for the Pike County Farm Bureau, which has built a relationship with Cullerton through a program that connects downstate farmers with Chicago lawmakers.

Thomas said Pike County farmers routinely donate to local pantries and similar relief efforts, but this is a chance to get a new perspective.

Corn delivery 1“It’s a wonderful experience. This is our second year. It’s one of those things that makes you feel good about helping other people … people all around the state need help. This is so much different from where we live. It’s just another perspective to see, that people are in need no matter whether you’re in a big city or in a small community,” Thomas said.

Common Pantry, located on North Damen Avenue in Chicago, has provided emergency food and social services since 1967 when it was founded to combat hunger and food insecurity in North Side neighborhoods. The organization provides weekly food distribution, home delivery to elderly clients, monthly produce distribution, a weekly hot lunch program and other services.

“Today’s visit and donation to Common Pantry was nothing short of amazing. The 1,000 pounds of corn donated by the Thomas family will go to folks from all over the North Side who struggle to find ways to feed their families. We were happy to welcome Jeremy, his two sons and nephew, as well as representatives from the Pike and Cook County Farm Bureaus and Senate President Cullerton. No doubt those who were here this morning left feeling our worlds are actually more similar than they are different. What prevailed was the universal sense of community and desire to help others,” said Common Pantry Executive Director Margaret O’Conor.


Photo 1. Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton (center) with members of the Thomas family from Pike County and leaders from the Common Pantry on Chicago’s North Side. The Pike County farmers delivered a truckload of sweet corn to the pantry on Friday to assist families in need.

Photo 2: Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton helps unload a truckload of sweet corn delivered by downstate farmers from Pike County to Common Pantry on Chicago’s North Side. The sweet corn will be distributed to other area pantries to help families in need.

Sen. President Cullerton

6th Senate District
President of the Senate

Years served: 1979 - 1991 (House); 1991 - Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Committee of the Whole; Executive.

Biography: Attorney; born Oct. 28, 1948, in Chicago; B.A., political science, Loyola University; J.D., Loyola University Law School; served in Illinois National Guard, 1970-76; former Assistant Public Defender and instructor at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy; married (wife, Pamela), has five children.

Associated Representatives:
Sara Feigenholtz
Ann M. Williams