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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

‘I Am Your Neighbor’ Program Lets People Buy Meals From Restaurants For Those Struggling During Pandemic

Common Pantry is teaming up with restaurants and chambers of commerce in Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center and Roscoe Village.

Lorraine Orbon (left) from Tuscan Hen Market is just one of the restaurants participating in Common Pantry's initiative.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — Common Pantry’s “I Am Your Neighbor” program allows anyone ordering take-out or delivery from partnering restaurants to pick up the tab for neighbors struggling financially during the pandemic. 

The food pantry at 3744 N. Damen Ave. is teaming up with chambers of commerce in Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, North Center and Roscoe Village and a growing number of restaurants to offer the free meals for people who are “food insecure.”

“This is a program we created to help our neighbors in need but also to help local restaurants stay afloat and keep their staff employed,” said David Brown, Common Pantry’s president. “We are thrilled by the community support of this program.”

Here’s how it works: 

1. Call a participating restaurant and ask to donate to the “I am Your Neighbor” program or add an extra amount to your bill when making a purchase. 

2. Pay the restaurant over the phone by credit card in any amount. The donation is added to the restaurant’s tab to be used for food ordered by someone in need.

3. The restaurant will post a sign in their window indicating they are participating in the “I Am Your Neighbor” Program.

4. Anyone in need can stop into a participating restaurant to order a carryout meal, just mention the “I Am Your Neighbor” Program and the meal is free.

Here’s the list of participating restaurants:

Tuscan Hen Market, 4019 N. Damen Ave.

Luella’s Southern Kitchen 4609 N .Lincoln Ave.

016 Restaurant, 5077 N. Lincoln Ave. 

Roots Pizza, 2200 W. Lawrence Ave. 

Slim’s, 2020 W. Montrose Ave. 

Reclaimed, 3655 N. Western Ave.

Mi Fogata, 4322 N. Western Ave. 

Spacca Napoli Pizza, 1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.

Cobblestone European Bistro and Cider House, 4337 N. Lincoln Ave. 

Fountainhead (& Market), 1966 W. Montrose Ave. 

Same Same Thai, 2022 W. Roscoe St.

The Rambler, 4128 N. Lincoln Ave. 

Volo Restaurant, 2008 W. Roscoe St.

“We started it small and then received a $5,000 anonymous donation and $1,500 from Roscoe Village Neighbors to jump start the program,” said Brown.

This new program is in place for the foreseeable future and is just one way to implement a greater level of food choice for those in need from a variety of great restaurants in our community, Brown said.

The pantry has seen a 70 percent increase in visitors so far this month.

Common Pantry also continues to offer emergency food distributions to people in need. However these distributions have shifted to pre-packaged groceries for clients. 

Other ways neighbors can help Common Pantry feed people in need include donating money to the pantry at or by bundling food donations with a group of 5 to 10 neighbors and scheduling a drop off time by emailing

Additionally, anyone performing wellness checks on the elderly can also let neighbors know they can sign up to the pantry’s Home Delivery Program for Seniors by emailing

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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