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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

At Ravenswood’s Friendship Center, New Thursday Dinners Offer Those In Need A Free, Hot Meal — No Questions Asked

“We’re not going to ask where you live or why you need it, we just want to have people who need to eat come and be served.”

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RAVENSWOOD — The Friendship Center food pantry will start offering a free weekly dinners every Thursday later this month. 

The Friendship Center has its roots in North Park Covenant Church. The pantry started in the summer of 1969. Over the decades, it’s grown into a nonprofit serving Lincoln Square, Ravenswood and West Ridge.

Starting Aug. 29, the pantry will serve free hot, healthy dinners from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Thursday at its 2711 W. Lawrence Ave. location. 

“We have been doing ‘soft opens’ the last few weeks — smaller dinners with invited clients from our food pantry — in order to get our volunteers up to speed and test run our new kitchen,” said Ross Outten, director of development for Friendship Center.  

So far these test runs have included spaghetti Bolognese, quesadillas with roasted peppers and pulled pork, and bow-tie pasta with parmesan, green onions and grilled chicken.

“We will always have vegetarian options at our meals,” Outten said. 

Anyone who is hungry can show up to the dinner, no questions asked. 

“More than once in a year, one out of six people in Chicago will not know where their next meal is coming from,” said Dan Kurash, a volunteer at Friendship Center. “We’re not going to ask where you live or why you need it, we just want to have people who need to eat come and be served.” 

Anyone who has an interest in helping out with the dinner can reach out to Outten at ross@friendshipcenterchicago.org with the subject line “Volunteer.” 

“And if they have an idea for a food drive or a corporate partnership, they are welcome to reach out directly to me about those as well,” Outten said.

For more information about the Friendship Center visit their website.

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