Since 2001 the Cook County farmers and the Cook County Farm Bureau® have been celebrating Food Checkout Day. 

Food Checkout Day highlights the safe and nutritious food grown by local farmers grow while also drawing attention to those families who struggle to find solutions to feeding their families healthy food on a tight budget.  Through Farm Bureau’s partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Farm Bureau members are able to assist families during the most difficult time of their lives, when their child is ill.

Cook County Farm Bureau® members celebrate Food Checkout Day by collecting food items, hosting a scavenger hunt and shopping spree to benefit local Ronald McDonald Houses and by encouraging farmers, sponsors, Country Financial Agencies, 4-H members, and students to participate in a food drive. 

“Cook County and Illinois farmers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food for our families and for others,” said James Gutzmer, President of Cook County Farm Bureau®.  “Food Checkout Day allows us to recognize the importance of healthy, nutritious food while supporting a local charity.”

As part of Food Checkout Day, Farm Bureau sponsors a scavenger hunt between Chicago sportscasters Ryan Baker, Lou Canellis, and Jim Rose at the Jewel-Osco® in the Old Towne Triangle.  Farm Bureau also sponsors a shopping spree at Jewel-Osco® in Oak Lawn.  Representatives from the local fire and police departments will race against each other to collect the most non-perishable food items. 

Additionally, members of the Cook County Farm Bureau®, Cook County 4-H programs, County Financial Agencies, sponsors, and schools donated food, pop tops, and money to RMHCCNI.

“This year we’ve challenged our members and partners to donate enough food to feed 75,000 people,” said Janet McCabe, Chairwoman of the Public Relations Team.  “I’m proud to say that not only did they accept the challenge but have worked to ensure that even more families and businesses contributed to Food Checkout Day and our area Ronald McDonald Houses.”

This year’s sponsors include:

·         Illinois Corn Marketing Board®

·         Illinois Corn Growers Association®

·         PotashCorp

·         American Agricultural Insurance Company

·         1st Farm Credit Services

·         Chicago Northwest Country Financial Representatives

·         Mike Cerf & Friends

·         Kopping Farms

·         Joe & Janet McCabe

·         Ted’s Greenhouse

·         Testa Produce, Inc.

·         Rauch Farms

·         Bob & Jayne Rohrer

·         Harold Bergman

·         Conserv FS

·         John & Tammy DeVries

·         Jim & Karen Gutzmer

·         IAA Credit Union

·         Jim & Esther Goebbert

·         Mr. & Mrs. Paul A. Lill

·         The Michaels Family

·         Jason & Paula Pouliot

·         Prairie Farms Dairy

·         Andrew & Beverly Smithberger

·         Ted’s Greenhouse

·         Zeldenrust Farm Market

Sponsors, members and Country Financial representatives donated over $15,700.  Since 2001, partners have donated over $102,000 to RMH®-CNI.

Food donations were collected by:

·         Komarek School, North Riverside

·         Nathan Hale Middle School, Crestwood

·         Westchester Middle School, Westchester

·         Saint Germaine, Oak Lawn

·         Most Holy Redeemer, Evergreen Park

·         Haugan School, Chicago

·         Southwest School, Evergreen Park

·         Concordia University Early Childhood Education Center, River Forest

·         Reavis High School, Burbank

·         Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, Chicago

·         St. Rita High School, Chicago

·         Proviso West High School, Hillside

Area schools donated 6,908 pounds of food.  In all 11,113 pounds of food was donated bringing the 15 year Food Checkout Day total to over 69,900 pounds of food.

Food Checkout Day is in cooperation with the Illinois Corn Marketing Board®; Illinois Corn Growers Association®, Cook County Farm Bureau®; American Agricultural Insurance Company®; and Country Financial. 

Donations can still be made by contacting the Cook County Farm Bureau® at (708) 354-3276 or by emailing

In 2012, Cook County Farm Bureau®’s annual Food Checkout Day program was named a Summit Award winner by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  The Summit Award recognizes the positive impact that associations have on their community.

As the county’s largest general farm organization, Cook County Farm Bureau® is dedicated to bridging the gap between farmers and urban consumers.  Through education programs targeting youth and their parents and programs designed to connect farmers with potential consumers, Farm Bureau members are actively engaging in conversations about food and the shared values between farmers and consumers. 

Ronald McDonald House® provides a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children receiving medical treatment in the Chicagoland area. The food will be used to help feed families staying at the house.

For over a decade, the Cook County Farm Bureau® has held a benefit for the Ronald McDonald Houses® Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana to celebrate Food Checkout Day.