Credit: Courtesy Common Pantry

NORTH CENTER — As many businesses shutter due to dangerously cold temperatures, Common Pantry opened its doors Wednesday to offer warm food and shelter to people trying to survive the polar vortex.

With temperatures hovering around -22 degrees early Wednesday, the pantry at 3744 N. Damen Ave. opened its doors a bit earlier than usual and served a light breakfast around 9 a.m.

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“While only a handful of people got here they said they were happy to have a place to go and a place to eat,” said Margaret O’Conor, the pantry’s executive director.  “And we’re serving lunch at noon, it doesn’t matter if you’re a client or not.”

O’Conor added that while the city also has warming centers open, Common Pantry wanted to be another port in the storm for those without access to heat.

While the pantry is opening earlier than normal Wednesday and Thursday, it’ll also be closing a bit sooner than normal at 4 p.m. to allow its employees to get home before the sun goes down and the temperature drops, O’Conor said.

“Our food pantry is open as well and we’ll have boxed lunches available after we serve lunch around noon today,” she said.

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