Chicago food pantries need our help. Sign up and volunteer.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository counted about 2,500 volunteers in June 2019. This past June, they counted about 1,500. Meanwhile, the demand on food pantries has soared.
If you’re looking for some place to do good this summer, some neighborhood food pantries could use your help.
The number of volunteers at Chicago pantries on the South and West Side is lagging far behind the need, just when the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation have led to a huge uptick in demand for food.
Because of investments in Black and Brown communities, the food supply and number of distribution locations aren’t an issue.
What’s missing is the human touch — individuals, or even better, groups, to support the vital mission of providing food for those who can’t afford it otherwise.
Volunteering a few hours out of your weekend could make a difference in how many families have enough food to eat for the week.
At the Pilsen Food Pantry, for example, an average of 300 clients a week were being served at the beginning of the year. Now, that number is up to about 350 a week.
“Every time we figure out a way to build more capacity, we hit it,” Evelyn Figueroa, the pantry director, told the Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagon. “If we are capping registration, we know that’s a problem. The worst thing is to close registration. We know people are coming that need food.”
Nourishing Hope, previously called the Lakeview Pantry, has a delivery program for senior citizens and those living with disabilities. A few weeks ago, Natia Barnett noticed there were only four volunteers signed up for deliveries on the South and West sides, while 20 were listed to deliver food on the North Side.
If you have a vehicle, and can afford the gas, consider volunteering in a neighborhood that needs help. People without the means to travel will appreciate it, and it will help keep other volunteers working in one of these neighborhoods from experiencing burnout.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository counted about 2,500 volunteers in June 2019. This past June, they counted about 1,500.
Meanwhile, the Food Depository distributed more than 48 million pounds of food, the equivalent of about 40 million meals, during the first half of their 2022 fiscal year. That’s an increase of more than 37% compared to the same time frame during the 2019 fiscal year.
Let’s give back and help those who are already helping.
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