DoorDash delivering groceries from Northern Illinois Food Bank to families in need

CHICAGO (CBS) — Food pantries throughout the Chicago area make sure people in need can feed their families, but what happens when one of those people can’t get to a food pantry?

The Food Bank of Northern Illinois has a solution, which is to use DoorDash drivers to deliver food as they would from a restaurant.

DoorDash driver David Kierna is just one of dozens of drivers who pick up groceries from the Food Bank of Northern Illinois distribution center in Lake Forest to deliver to those in need.

“You feel good about bringing food to people, especially these days. People are hurting, and they’re getting something to eat,” he said.

Randy Stutz runs the Lake Forest distribution center, where families place orders through a special website, the food bank packs the orders, and at 5:45 p.m. on delivery days, the call goes to DoorDash. Within minutes, drivers arrive at the parking lot to pick up and deliver orders.

“This program is designed to help people who don’t have access to food banks,” Stutz said. “One of our missions is to make sure the people who need it most get food. They can just go online and order the food they need, and they know it will be delivered to their door.”

Those who pick up their food bank orders do not have to pay for delivery. Drivers are paid by the food bank and through a grant from DoorDash.

Submissions are open to anyone, and are sensitive to those who may feel embarrassed.

“We’re fighting the stigma that comes with going to the food bank. This is another one of the main reasons people shy away from going to the food pantry. This way, they won’t have to,” Stutz said.

Kierna’s delivery took him to Gurnee and the home of Onisha Gaiter, who doesn’t have a car, so she can’t get to a pantry to get food for herself and her daughter.

“It feels good to have it delivered to my door,” Gaiter said. “I wake up and say, ‘Oh, it was delivered today.’

Every week, DoorDash delivers 1,000 orders to the Northern Illinois Food Bank. DoorDash began financing the food bank’s deliveries nationwide in 2018. The Food Bank of Northern Illinois joined the program in 2021.

Earlier this year, DoorDash provided another round of funding to continue the program.

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