The week in history: From one Chicagoan to another 2,000

Chicagoans have been helping those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. In the midst of the Great Depression, another Chicagoan helped feed 2,000 jobless and homeless men.

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Light snow rests on the hats of the stat

Light snow rests on the hats of the statues at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial on the sculptures “Breadline” (created by George Segal) 05 December 2007 in Washington, DC.

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images

As reported by the Chicago Daily News, sister paper of the Chicago Sun-Times:

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Chicago hard, especially those facing food insecurity. Thankfully, many Chicagoans have pitched in to help local food depositories and restaurant workers, who have been hit especially hard.

In 1932, a generous Chicagoan helped feed 2,000 homeless and jobless men on the North Side by giving generously to a local church, according to a March 5, 1932, report from the Chicago Daily News.

“The biggest breadline of the year at 921 North Wells Street today revealed the benefactor to be Kenneth Smith, president of the Pepsodent Company,” the report said.

Since the previous October, Smith had given $2,000 each month (roughly $37,760 in 2020 dollars) to the Immanuel Baptist church, then under the supervision of Rev. Johnston Myers. Myers told a Daily News reporter that even when Smith was a boy in Sunday school, “he was interested in helping others.”

“The cost is approximately $2,000 per month,” Myers said, “but Mr. Smith has been glad to bear the expense alone because of the good he can do.”

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