Food Checkout Day highlights the safe and nutritious food grown by local farmers.  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 Dionne Miller, ABC; Lou Canellis, FOX; and Holly Buckendahl, Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chief Executive Officers at the Jewel-Osco® in the Old Towne Triangle.  Farm Bureau also sponsored a shopping spree at Jewel-Osco® in Oak Lawn.  Representatives from the local fire and police departments raced 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 tabs, and money to RMHC® CNI.

Food donations were collected by:

John Dore

St. Germaine

St. Rita High School

Reavis High School FACS Department

Most Holy Redeemer



St. John Fisher School


Nathan Hale Elementary

Concordia University

Nathan Davis Elementary

Humbolt Community Christian

Proviso West High School

The food drive raised 8,960 pounds of food.

Food donations were also collected by representatives and clients from the following Country Financial agencies:

Chicago North

Chicago Northeast

Chicago Northwest

Chicago South

Orland Park

South Holland

Agents contributed 1,098 pounds of food, $2,640 in cash donations, and $1,066 in in-kind donations.

Food Checkout Day is in cooperation with:

Jewel-Osco® ($10,000)


Illinois Corn Marketing Board®

Illinois Corn Growers Association®

PotashCorp ($2,000)

Bob Smith (Country agent)

Chicago North Country Financial

Chicago Northeast Country Financial

Kopping Farms

Joe and Janet McCabe

Orland Park Country Financial

Rauch Farms

Bob and Jayne Rohrer

Testa Produce, Inc.

Zeldenrust Farm Market

American Agricultural Insurance

Jim and Esther Goebbert

Jim and Karen Gutzmer

IAA Credit Union

Kristy Mottl and Friends

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.