ROGERS PARK — The Ignatian Mission Center Food Pantry reopened two weeks ago in a new spot and has already served more than 100 neighbors, organizers said at its dedication ceremony Tuesday.
The food pantry came to the neighborhood in the early ’70s and was operated at St. Ignatius Parish, 6559 N. Glenwood Ave. The pantry provided more than 41 tons of food to the Rogers Park community just in 2020, but it stopped providing services when the parish closed in 2021.
A group of church leaders, parishioners and former volunteers of the food pantry worked together to recreate the resource in a new space. They opened it Feb. 7 at 1735 W. Greenleaf Ave. and held the dedication ceremony Tuesday.
“There’s a need in the community, and we hope to be able to provide much more than just food, but that’s what we’re starting out with,” said Liam Ford, one of the food pantry’s organizers.
When St. Ignatius and other local Catholic churches closed in 2021, Cardinal Blase Cupich said the physical spaces would continue to be a resource for their neighborhoods — but in new ways.
The reopening of the food pantry marks the first step of “reimagining [St. Ignatius Parish’s] sacred space and rectory to continue to serve the community,” according to a news release from the Ignatian Mission Center.
Elementary school students at Northside Catholic Academy, 6216 N. Glenwood Ave., collected and donated more than 20 boxes of nonperishable goods to supply the pantry in its first weeks.
Many of the people who have used the food pantry since its reopening are immigrants, including refugees or asylum seekers from Venezuela, Afghanistan and Ukraine, according to the Ignatian Mission Center.
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) commended members of the Ignatian Mission Center for seeing the project through and providing a much-needed resource to the neighborhood.
“So much of how we benefit in the ward are from community-driven efforts from people who are just neighbors who care about their neighbors and do what they can to support,” Hadden said at the dedication ceremony. “They make sure people can live here, that they can be healthy and have what they need to support their families. These are basic needs we all have, so I really appreciate the time and effort and care put into this.”
The food pantry is open to people in need 3-7 p.m. Tuesdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays. It serves people who live between Lake Michigan and Western Avenue and Devon and Touhy avenues.
To make a donation to the food pantry or learn more about the Ignatian Mission Center, visit its website.
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