HYDE PARK — The University of Chicago is launching a $2 million initiative to help South Siders who are struggling because of the coronavirus shutdown.
The help will come through two programs — one that aims to deliver at least 225,000 meals to over the next 10 weeks to residents, and another that will offer $1 million in bridge grants to local small businesses and nonprofits.
The meals will be distributed:
- 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mondays at Martin Temple Community Soup Kitchen, 6930 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
- 1-3 p.m. Tuesdays at Operation Pull Grant Memorial, 4017 S. Drexel Blvd.
- 9:30-10 a.m. and Noon-1 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at Kenwood UCC Soup Kitchen, 4608 S. Greenwood Ave.
- 9-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at St. James Food Pantry, 2907 S. Wabash Ave.
- Noon-2 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at FCHN Soup Kitchen, 1234 W. 59th St.
“Strict public health and safety protocols regarding social distancing and sanitation” will be followed during meal deliveries, which are being coordinated with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Through the $1 million grant program, South Side businesses and nonprofits are eligible for grants up to $7,500 to address “immediate cash flow issues.“
Independent businesses must be located in Douglas, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, South Shore, Washington Park or Woodlawn to be eligible for assistance.
The Polsky Exchange will hold upcoming small business workshops online, and the workshops will be available to the public.
More than 150 nonprofits under the university’s Community Programs Accelerator are also eligible to apply for up to $7,500. The funds can be used to cover general operating costs and expenses associated with the transition to virtual programming.
A coronavirus response fund has also been created for UChicago Medicine health care workers, patients and families.
The fund covers costs for “patient and family hardship support, technology to connect patients and families during visitor restrictions, hospital equipment and supplies, transportation, and other urgent needs.”
“The University of Chicago has a deep commitment to the people of the South Side, and these new efforts build on this commitment at a time of dramatic challenge and uncertainty,” University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer said in a statement.
“I commend the University of Chicago for its continued commitment to the South Side communities facing heightened insecurities at this critical time—both financially and from a public health perspective,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.
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