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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Woodlawn YWCA Hands Out Weekly Meals, Set To Expand Food Distribution

With the backing of the University of Chicago, the Woodlawn branch of the YWCA is handing out free meals every Sunday from 12-1 p.m. Officials are also planning to partner with World Central Kitchen to provide hot meals on a weekly basis.

YWCA staff and volunteers pose for a picture before handing out 400 meals prepared by the University of Chicago April 19.
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WOODLAWN — Free meals from the University of Chicago are available at the Woodlawn YWCA every Sunday, and the social service organization is looking to expand its food distribution program with the help of World Central Kitchen.

About 600 meals will be handed out this Sunday from 12–1 p.m. at the YWCA’s Laura Parks and Mildred Francis Center, 6600 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

You can drive up to the center and YWCA staffers will put the sack lunch in your trunk. For those who don’t drive, staffers wearing personal protective equipment are handing out the meals.

The Woodlawn YWCA is one of numerous locations across the South Side handing out meals prepared by the University of Chicago. At least 225,000 meals will be distributed in the coming weeks, including:

  • 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.

A full list of meal distribution sites is available here.

The 400 meals handed out at the YWCA’s first distribution April 19 were handed out quickly, according to Molly Silverman, the chief strategic engagement officer at YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.

The organization is also finalizing a partnership with the Chefs for America program, which pays independent restaurants to make meals for food-insecure families, seniors and health care workers. Distribution dates for that program are forthcoming.

Beyond distributing meals, the YWCA is handing out cash grants of at least $100 to clients of its economic empowerment programs, according to Silverman.

The organization needs more funding to expand the cash giveaways to the general public, she said.

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is one of the organizations set to receive funds from Wednesday’s BET benefit special hosted by Kelly Rowland, Terrence J and Regina Hall.

“It would be amazing” to get the funds raised through BET directly into the hands of Chicagoans, Silverman said — particularly those who are undocumented and cannot receive federal stimulus checks.

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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