CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Some Chicago neighborhoods will soon get help putting food on the table.
In the coming weeks, the Greater Chicago Food Depository will expand food access with new food distributions in African American and Latino communities in Chicago that have been devastated by the combination of COVID-19 and food insecurity.
In partnership with seven faith- and community-based organizations, and in collaboration with the City of Chicago, the Food Depository will deliver truckloads of food to pop-up food pantries on Chicago’s South and West Sides. Many of the communities that are hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic are neighborhoods that were already struggling with high rates of poverty and food insecurity.
The coalition of black and brown organizations leading this effort includes: Apostolic Church of God (and the Network of Woodlawn), Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, Austin Coming Together, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, New Life Centers of Chicagoland, South Shore Works and Real Men Charities, Inc., and Trinity United Church of Christ.
“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, black and brown households in Chicago were disproportionately affected by food insecurity,” said Nicole Robinson, vice president of community impact for the Food Depository. “Now the disparities are even more striking. Together, we have an obligation to empower community leaders to be co-creators of the emergency food response, which leads to a stronger, more equitable Chicago.”
Three of the community partners are members of the City of Chicago’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team.
In addition to leading emergency food distributions in Auburn Gresham, Austin and South Shore, the community leaders will couple this effort with the provision of public health messaging, cloth face masks, and other resources identified as critical to their hyper-local responses to COVID-19.
“The unyielding passion and commitment of the Greater Chicago Food Depository and their partners has been nothing short of amazing,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “Since the first days of the COVID-19 crisis, they have been at the forefront of our city’s relief efforts, going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure our families remain secure while they are sheltering in place — particularly our most vulnerable. We still have a long way to go before we can get our city back on track, but our recovery will be faster and stronger thanks to their incredible service to our communities and our future.”
The weekly distributions, which will be held outside to promote social distancing, will begin the week of May 4 and continue for the following five weeks. They’re open to the public, but intended for people in need who live in or near these respective communities.
The need for food assistance has increased. In recent weeks responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the Food Depository’s network of food pantries and similar programs has served an average of 40 percent more people in need.
In addition to these distributions, there are hundreds of longtime food pantries and meal programs open and serving communities throughout Chicago and Cook County. Anyone in need of food can visit chicagosfoodbank.org/find-food or call 773-247-3663 to find the food pantry nearest them.
There are no income requirements or other eligibility criteria to receive food assistance. All will be served as long as supplies last.