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 representatives from the Chicago Police Department and Chicago Fire Department 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 Oak Lawn 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 tabs, and money to RMHC® CNI.

“This year we’ve asked our members to open their hearts to the families calling our local Ronald McDonald Houses their temporary home,” 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.”

Food donations were collected by:

John Dore Elementary, Chicago

St. John Fisher School, Chicago

Komarek School, North Riverside

Nathan Hale Middle School, Crestwood

St. Germaine, Oak Lawn

Most Holy Redeemer, Evergreen Park

Proviso West High School, Hillside

Southwest School, Evergreen Park

McCord Elementary School, Burbank

St. Rita High School, Chicago

Tobin Elementary School, Burbank


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

Chicago North Country Financial

Chicago South Country Financial

Chicago Northeast East Country Financial

Chicago Northwest Country Financial

Orland Park Country Financial

South Holland Country Financial


Food Checkout Day is in cooperation with:


IAA Credit Union

American Ag Insurance

Ted’s Greenhouse

Jeff and Bona Heinsohn

Cook County Farm Bureau® members

Kopping Farms

Joe and Janet McCabe

Bob and Jayne Rohrer

Jim and Kathy Bloomstrand

Steve Jameson, Country Financial Crop Specialist

All-Types Elevators

Rauch Farms

Harold Bergman

Zeldenrust Farms


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.


Chicago Police officer White, Trujillo and PPO Ruppert raced against representatives from the Chicago Fire Department to fill Ronald McDonald House Charities’ pantries as part of this year’s Food Checkout Day.  Together with representatives from the Oak Lawn Fire and Police Department along with financial representatives from Country Financial and local schools over 11,800 pounds of food was donated.


Cook County Farm Bureau members loaded food collected from this year’s Food Checkout Day scavenger hunt.  Together with sponsors and Country Financial representatives, Farm Bureau donated over $10,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities.