Northern Illinois Food Bank Wins Innovation Award For 'My Pantry Express'

Northern Illinois Food Bank Wins Innovation Award For ‘My Pantry Express’

Northern Illinois Food Bank, based in Geneva, has been named one of the winners of the 18th annual Chicago Innovation Awards. The organization’s pilot program, My Pantry Express (MPX), is an online source for food when in need.

The winners were announced at an event held at Chicago’s Harris Theater on Monday, Oct. 28, with nearly 1,500 business and civic leaders, and supporters of innovation in attendance.

The Chicago Innovation Awards, celebrating its 18th year, is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market each year.

My Pantry Express reduces barriers for food insecure neighbors to receive help. The program offers private online food shopping and local pick-up at convenient locations and times to reach food-insecure individuals not presently accessing the charitable food network. Northern Illinois Food Bank is the first food bank to offer this service.

MPX creates simple, easy access to nutritious food at no cost for food insecure neighbors. It connects an overabundance of food with areas of need, providing an added level of food availability and choice.

Seventy-four percent of food-insecure people participating in MPX reported being able to keep up with paying their bills on time and making fewer tough choices. For more information, visit

“Chicago’s innovators continue to demonstrate the breadth of innovation found in the Chicago region, cutting across all industries, sectors and sizes,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “2019 winners are pioneers in energy, healthcare, telecommunications, manufacturing, drug development, food, automotive, cyber security, architecture, community and workforce development, education, entertainment and more.”

“This award is a wonderful recognition for our team and the work we’re doing to serve our neighbors, which envisions a better way of working to solve hunger in our communities,” said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. “Innovation and technology has the potential to solve so many of the world’s challenges, and through MPX we are able to not only provide nutritious groceries, but dignity and respect for our neighbors.

The winning organizations receive a variety of honors including the opportunity to ring the Nasdaq Bell in New York City, and meetings with the Mayor of Chicago, Governor of Illinois, Cook County President, and leaders from the United Nations.

“Exactly 450 organizations were nominated for this year’s awards,” said Luke Tanen, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Awards.  “As a group, these nominees generated over $13.9 billion in new revenues from their new products and services, along with the creation of 1,001 patents. The 25 winners represent the best from this very impressive group.”

The complete list of this year’s Chicago Innovation Award winners can be found at<>.

The Chicago Innovation Awards are supported by Founding Diamond Sponsor Theron Technology Solutions; Diamond Sponsors Accenture and SMS Assist, Gold Sponsors Comcast Business and Wintrust Financial; Silver Sponsors Exelon, Vedder Price and others.

SOURCE: Northern Illinois Food Bank news release

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