The Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, volunteer agency directed and operated by community and local church volunteers residing throughout the greater Fox Valley area. It is also a member of the Northern Illinois Food Bank Cooperative. Those who visit and use the Food Pantry are our neighbors and friends, people with disabilities, seniors, low income families, and families whose member(s) have lost their jobs.
Once a client/family has been certified they may use the Pantry once a month. In addition, all clients may come during the last half hour of operation on any day the Pantry is open for produce and bakery items. The Pantry is also open to all clients each Friday afternoon, see the right column for hours and available items.
The Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry has been open for over 30 years. It is currently serving over 1,200 individuals each month. This would not be possible without the active support of community volunteers and donors who so selflessly donate their time, effort, and money. Our pantry requires 900 worker hours each month to fill our client shopping hours and food collection and stocking needs.
The BIFP Bylaws, updated April 2019, are available here.
The Pantry and Closet together comprise a not-for-profit organization sponsored by various Batavia churches and the community at large. Its purpose is to provide food, non-food household and personal items, and clothing for those individuals and families residing in Batavia and Batavia Township who are in need. The Pantry’s not-for-profit operations fall under the “The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act” of 1996 which clarifies that clients accept all donations with a clear understanding that they will hold harmless the Pantry, its directors, staff, volunteers, and suppliers.
If you have questions not answered on the FAQs page you can contact us by clicking on the envelope icon at the bottom right of any page. This will pop up a Contact Form allowing you to enter your contact information and your question. The Pantry staff will respond promptly. You can also contact the Food Pantry or Clothes Closet directly by calling on the phone numbers listed on the right. Please be aware that the line is staffed during the hours the Pantry and Clothes Closet are open, at all other times you can leave a message and the Pantry staff will respond at their earliest convenience.
Pam Jernstad, President
Jim Perreault, Vice President
Erin Freund, Secretary
Jessica McGrail, Treasurer
Betsy Zinser, Executive Director
Food Pantry Manager
Diane Upton, Assistant Director
Clothes Closet Manager
The Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry came into being as a result of the economic recession in 1981. Batavia churches were receiving many requests for food by residents who were unemployed and unable to provide for their families. In response to those needs, on November 26, 1981, the Ministerial Association called together a special meeting of representatives and pastors to discuss ways to establish a central operation where people could come to receive food assistance.
After many initial homes, the Pantry moved to its current location, an unused storage building, donated by the City of Batavia. Generous local business people, craftsmen and citizens with expertise, renovated this storage unit into an efficient and functional space. As the pantry continued to grow, the need for a pantry vehicle became apparent. With the support of the Batavia Lions and the community spirit, a van was purchased. The van carries groceries from local stores, schools, and businesses during food drives and normal shopping trips. It is also used to deliver food to shut-ins who need assistance.
Because of increasing number of clients and the consequential need to store more food, it became apparent that the building itself was becoming too small. In the fall of 2007, with local financial contributions and donated services and materials, the current addition was completed.
In order to service our clients in a more efficient manner, our Food Pantry adopted the philosophy of Client Choice in October 2007. Client Choice provides the clients more independent and personal choices in selecting their own food versus our old method of bagging groceries based on what food guidelines say each client should get.
Today, with the help of volunteers, our clients can select food items that they want and can use. Currently the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry serves over 350 families every month.
Who the Food Pantry Serves
If you live within Batavia or Batavia Township (which includes parts of Aurora and North Aurora), you are eligible to receive help from the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry once a month and from the Clothes Closet twice a month.