ROUND LAKE BEACH (CBS) — With the holidays upon us, our thoughts turn to people less fortunate.
But it’s more than just a thought for one man. He took action.READ MORE: Extra-Alarm Fire Rages In Historic Pilsen Building
CBS 2’s Harry Porterfield introduces us to Michael Pimpo someone you should know.
What does a recession look like? Well, it looks like people in need. And for them, an oasis of hope can be found in north suburban Round Lake Beach, where it’s known as PLAN, the People Lending Assistance Network.
“PLAN is about making a difference one person at a time,” says Pimpo, who started the organization three years ago.
Each month, those who have signed up receive a box generously filled with nutritious food to sustain the recipients during these difficult times.
“We are going on 15 months of just living on unemployment, and it’s real tough when you have a home and a mortgage and four children,” Christina Solpaert says. “You do what you have to do.”READ MORE: Elderly South Side Couple 'Thankful' Robbers With U-Haul Only Took A Purse
The pantry has become a vital resource to many people because Lake County has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the region.
The organization came into existence at a crucial time. In its first year, it provided 360,000 tons of food to needy people.
“The demand became very great very quickly. Now it is not stopping,” Pimpo said.
In addition to the food, the pantry makes available clothing for all ages, furniture, cleaning supplies and other items for sanitation. All the work is done by volunteers.
“It seems to be filling a real need, and just watching people come through here — as soon as it opens, they come through,” Bob Wren said.
The organization now services more than 3,000 households. Pimpo, the pastor of a small church, sees the organization getting even bigger.MORE NEWS: Civic Federation President Calls Mayor Lightfoot's $16.7 Billion Budget Plan 'Good News,' But Some Aldermen Aren't Sold On Specifics
“We have new people coming every day that are applying for food and assistance and were just meeting that demand day by day,” he said.