40 years after it started as small church project on Chicago’s South Side, food pantry has grown with the times

Hunger Action Month

CHICAGO — It’s been around for almost 40 years starting out as a small church project in the basement. These days the Sheldon Heights Food Pantry in Chicago’s Roseland neighborhood has been forced to grow with the times.

Eric Clark runs it and is as hands on with clients as it gets.

He shared a story about a man who came to the pantry two weeks in a row and was sent away each time when inventory was low.

Clark vowed never to let it happen again.

“From that point on I have it in my mind and heart that I will not tell somebody to come back because we just don’t have something to give them,” he said.

Since then, the Sheldon Heights Food Pantry has kept its promise. It’s open two days a week and clients are invited to come once a month.

Grant money from the Greater Chicago Food Depository will help pay for a new sign outside very soon, making it easier to find. And that money has already helped buy a giant, new, walk-in freezer replacing 17 small ones that were racking up big energy bills.

 “We were able to reduce our electric bill by a couple thousand dollars,” Clark said.

The food pantry is partnered with 11 grocery stores and clients get to choose what they take home, from fresh meat to macaroni.

Clark is also seeing the rate of new versus returning clients soar. He’s thrilled to be part of the solution and the team of volunteers who make it all happen for anyone who’s hungry.

 “If there is a need, there is never a reason in the city of Chicago to go without food,” he said.

The Sheldon Heights Food Pantry is located at 11325 S Halsted Street and helps neighbors in need by serving all of Cook County, not just Chicago.

It almost feels like a mini grocery store and couldn’t happen without the help of the Sheldon Heights Church of Christ next door. They help with everything from volunteers to donations.

All month long, we will be sharing stories about the efforts to eradicate hunger in your community. We invite you to watch, and help,  so neighbors where you live don’t go to bed hungry.

Head to feedingamerica.org for more information.  

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