Chicago area food pantries get boost from grants

food pantry
Food pantry box Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Greater Chicago Food Depository is distributing more than $2.5 million in grants to fund four new food pantries and to reimagine 22 others.

The four new food pantries will serve the Washington Heights/Roseland communities; the Englewood and Chicago Lawn neighborhoods, South Lawndale and south suburban Dolton and Calumet City.

Nicole Robinson, vice-president of community impact for the Greater Chicago Food Depository, says the new pantries will receive more than $200,000 each, while the 22 existing pantries will receive gifts of between $25,000 and $75,000.

"What these funds will enable them to do is to hire staff. It will enable them to redesign their pantries so that they can be inviting, welcoming, warm spaces with dignity,” Robinson said Monday.

Robinson says food insecurity is great on parts of the South and West Sides and the south suburbs and the pandemic has only exacerbated the need for assistance from pantries. Community pantries will decide how to use the grant money, she said.

"The community gets to decide should we have a mural on the side of the building, should we have cold storage refrigerators just like they would have in the deli department or the dairy department in a store?” Robinson said.

Robinson says the pandemic has driven home  the needs for a stronger, more resilient food system.

Here are the new pantries receiving support:
-Endeleo Institute – Washington Heights/Roseland
-Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) – Englewood/Chicago Lawn
-New Life Centers of Chicagoland – South Lawndale
-American Association for Single Parents – Dolton/Calumet City

Transformative Grants for Existing Partners
-Circle Urban Ministries – Austin
-Hope Food Pantry – Austin
-Iglesia Evangelica Emanuel – Belmont Cragin
-Respond Now – Chicago Heights
-Church on Fire International – Cicero
-Chicago Lawn United Methodist Church Jesus Christ Food Pantry – Chicago Lawn
-The Salvation Army: Englewood Red Shield Center – Englewood
-Shepherd’s Hope – Englewood
-Chosen Tabernacle Ministries – Grand Boulevard
-St. Columbanus Church – Greater Grand Crossing
-Thornton Township Pantry – Harvey (Dolton location)
-Restoration Ministries – Harvey
-Pilsen Wellness Center – Lower West (and Brighton Park and South Lawndale)
-Pilsen Food Pantry – Lower West (and South Lawndale)
-Lighthouse of Hope – Melrose Park
-Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry – Oak Forest
-Beyond Hunger – Austin location
-Howard Area Community Center – Rogers Park
-Care for Real – Rogers Park
-Sheldon Heights Food Pantry – Roseland
-Windsor Park Lutheran Church – South Shore
-Grace Central Outreach – Westchester (and Maywood)