Meals on Wheels Chicago launches a food pantry to help more of the city’s older adults

A spokesperson for Meals on Wheels Chicago says the organization wants to expand its service by launching the Nourish Chicago Food Pantry.

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A volunteer worker hands a person a tomato at the Meals on Wheels Chicago food pantry.

The Nourish Chicago Food Pantry will be open the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Central West Senior Center.


Meals on Wheels in Chicago is launching a food pantry to expand its services to more of the city’s older residents.

The Nourish Chicago Food Pantry is aimed at people 60 or older who need help stretching their grocery budget but who aren’t eligible for Meals on Wheels’ delivery service.

“We had conversations with people about what they did before they were able to enroll in the program, and we found out they were consistently struggling to make ends meet and putting off buying basic essentials like medications just so they could afford food,” said Ellen Bouleanu, a Meals on Wheels Chicago spokeswoman.

The pantry, which will be open on the fourth Tuesday of the month, will offer fresh produce and other food items as well as pet food and preventive medications for pets.

The pantry’s official launch is from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23, at the Central West Senior Center, 2102 W. Ogden Ave. About 150 people were served each month while testing the pantry in May, June and July.

The launch of the food pantry is also a small celebration of the Chicago chapter’s 35th anniversary.

Meals on Wheels is a delivery service that brings healthy meals to older adults who cannot prepare their own meals due to sickness or a disability.

Meals on Wheels Chicago developed the food pantry in partnership with the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, which also saw the need for a food pantry that helped older Chicago residents.

“At the beginning of this year with rising inflation hitting the cost of food so dramatically, we thought now was the time,” Bouleanu said. “We were able to devote some of our resources to getting this off the ground due to an unprecedented level of support we received from the community during the pandemic.”

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