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Pop-up food pantries arrive in areas hardest-hit by COVID-19

The Greater Chicago Food Depository has teamed up with seven Chicago faith- and community-based groups from Roseland to Austin.

Greater Chicago Food Depository warehouse.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository’s warehouse. The food bank is expanding its outreach in communities hardest hit by COVID-19.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The largest food bank in Chicago is expanding its reach to African American and Latino communities devastated by COVID-19.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository has teamed up with seven Chicago faith- and community-based groups from Roseland to Austin. The food bank will deliver truckloads of food to pop-up pantries on Chicago’s South and West Sides.

“Even before the coronavirus pandemic, black and brown households in Chicago were disproportionately affected by food insecurity,” Nicole Robinson, vice president of community impact for the food bank, said in a statement. “Now the disparities are even more striking.”

The pantries began Monday and will continue for the next five weeks. Each pantry will be held outside to promote social distancing.

Each location will serve 500 to 1,000 households. Those in need will receive boxes with 20 to 30 pounds of non-perishable food, along with fresh produce and frozen meat or other protein.

Partners include: Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corp.; Austin Coming Together; New Life Centers of Chicagoland; Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church; South Shore Works and Real Men Charities Inc.; Trinity United Church of Christ; and Apostolic Church of God and the Network of Woodlawn.

The emergency food drive is open to the public but intended for people in need living in or near these communities.

“Even before COVID-19, the system for food access in Austin was not well defined,” Darnell Shields, executive director of Austin Comes Together, said in a statement. “We see this effort as an important first step toward increasing food access in Austin. We’re excited to be a part of it.”

Visit Greater Chicago Food Depository’s website for dates, times and locations of the pop-up pantries.

Manny Ramos is a corps member in Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster Sun-Times coverage of issues affecting Chicago’s South and West sides.