By Shelby R. Farrell


BELVIDERE – Local employees from Faurecia, an automotive support company, are driven to help the community with the annual Community Food Drive.

Faurecia is the world’s seventh largest automotive supplier and has supplied the Belvidere Chrysler plant with front-end modules for the Dodge Dart since the car’s production launched in June of 2012.

Nonetheless, auto parts aren’t the only thing the company and its employees have supplied the community of Boone County with over the last four years.

The 33 Faurecia employees in Belvidere are a part of Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service, which is a “focused corporate giving initiative,” according to the group’s official website.

The initiative’s focus is to help feed people in communities where the company operates, including 47 North American locations. The annual Community Food Drive began in 2010, and has since donated more than 3.5 million meals in North America.

Abbey Goodnite, Belvidere’s Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service leader, said the employees in Belvidere want to help the community.

“Not enough people understand the need for help in this community,” Goodnite said.

She said the Belvidere Faurecia employees host various benefit events throughout the year for the local community, including a bowling event and a Relay for Life walk.

Nevertheless, they have participated in the Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service food drive since the location was established in 2012.

“Everyone here is involved in FUELS, and we’ve had great success in previous years,” she said. “In 2013, we totally killed it with 3,600 meals. Last year we donated 1,800 meals. We’re hoping to surpass that this year.”

She said the number of employees was double what it is now in 2013, which explains the decrease in donations.

However, the people involved have met their goals every year, including 2,349 meals in their first year.

“The goal in past years was the head count of FUELS members multiplied by 10 pounds, but if we did that the goal would be 350, very low,” Goodnite said. “Setting it at last year’s number sets the goal high, but doable.”

In previous years, Faurecia has donated and additional $500 to the food pantries and food banks in communities where the Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service group met its goal. However, this year, the company has increased the additional donation amount to $1,000.

Faurecia also added a contest element to the Community Food Drive challenging the 47 North American locations to compete for a $5,000 donation to their local food pantry. Employees from plants in the U.S. and in Canada are competing to surpass their total from last year by the highest percent.

“We’re really excited, and we want to give the Belvidere-Boone County Food Pantry a big, jumbo check for $5,000 if we can smash the competition at the other locations,” Goodnite said. “Really, any little bit we can give them makes a difference.”

The Belvidere Faurecia employees do more than donate their canned and boxed foods and money; they also donate volunteer hours at the Belvidere-Boone County Food Bank. Goodnite said while the food collection is brought to an end with a big collection at the end of September, the volunteer hours are extended into October.

Linda Clark, the executive director for the Belvidere-Boone County Food Pantry, said the volunteerism of the members of Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service is what makes them stand out.

“It’s not only a food drive, they also come volunteer,” she said. “It’s kind of nice to have them come here and stack the food on the shelves that they have donated. They’re great workers, and they support us every year. It’s a big deal for us.”

Goodnite said the people who work at the Belvidere plant, along with their family and friends, logged 235 volunteer hours last year. The extra help at the food pantry is extra needed at this time of year, Clark said. The pantry hosts one of its biggest fundraisers on the second Thursday in September every year called the Miracle on 5th Street, which raises money for the pantry’s utility bills.

“We need this community behind us,” Clark said. “We depend on church groups and clubs to help us keep food on our shelves.”

The Belvidere-Boone County Food Pantry serves over 1,500 people every month, according to the organization’s official website. Clark said the pantry abides by Illinois government and USDA guidelines for poverty, and people who benefit from the program are scanned to meet those requirements based on income and living costs. She also said people seeking help at the Belvidere-Boone County Food Pantry have to show proof of a Boone County residence.

“When someone leaves here, they are leaving with a cart full of products – fresh produce, canned foods, meats, fruits, starches,” Clark said. “They can get about $375 in food products, and that doesn’t include the non-food products like toilet paper and clothes.”

Goodnite said its better when the Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service members donate money instead of food products because the food pantry can get the same products at discounted prices. She said although the money donations benefit the food pantry the most, anything they can do for the community is the goal.

“Every year FUELS has a theme,” she said. “This year, ‘Nourish Neighborhoods,’ is a great explanation for why we do this. The reason we do this is to help our neighborhoods. It’s not just for one place specifically; it’s for everyone’s neighborhood.”

To learn more about Faurecia Unites with Employees for Local Service, visit To learn more about or donate to the Belvidere-Boone County Food Pantry, visit

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