CHICAGO — On Chicago’s Far North Side, the mission to feed those in need is expanding.
For 50 years, Edgewater’s Care for Real food pantry on North Sheridan Road served as a beacon — one that’s grown in the last year.
“The need has just skyrocketed,” says Care for Real executive director Gregory Gross. “There is so much need that people are waiting in line to get food. We all need food. It’s such a basic need.”
Gross says that basic need is feeding the pantry’s growth, seeing a nearly 60% increase in households being served, now upwards of 150 a day.
“We had to rent an additional store front to be able to respond to the need,” Gross said.
The move became a Tuesday morning pop-up pantry at the height of the pandemic, at the corner of Morse and Ashland in neighboring Rogers Park. The pop-up expanded once more within the past few weeks, with a drive-through service on Thursday afternoons.
“We’re trying to make things even more convenient for working families,” Gross said. “For parents picking up their kids after school, they can pick up their kids and come through the drive-thru food pantry.”
The saving grace, Gross says, is that as the need has grown, so have donations of fresh food and clothing. But finances, Gross adds, could also use a boost, as the cost of running the expanded rises.
He believes the mission is important, however, coming out of pandemic, as people slowly get back to a routine—and need a bit of a hand.
“We’ve seen so many people who’ve never had to ask for assistance for food before,” Gross said. “We are here for everyone. There is no judgment. We do our best to respond with dignity and compassion because we know any one of us could be in a position where we have to ask for assistance.”
Care for Real food pantry hours:
- Edgewater 5339 N. Sheridan
- Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9 a.m. – Noon
- Saturday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
- Rogers Park 1615 W. Morse
- Tuesday walk-up noon -2pm
- Thursday drive-thru 4 p.m.- 6 p.m.