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Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards

Cocina RX To Give Free Fresh, Healthy Meals To Little Village And North Lawndale Families

The aim is to offer fresh meals to Black and Brown neighborhoods being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 because of chronic illnesses.

Food Hero is distributing food as part of a new initiative in North Lawndale and Little Village
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NORTH LAWNDALE — A Little Village group’s new initiative will distribute fresh meals to families in Little Village and North Lawndale this weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Food Hero, the culinary education startup based out of Little Village, is launching Cocina RX to help bring healthy meals to families. The free food distribution kicks off noon Saturday at the Street Vendors Association shared kitchen at 3654 W. 16th St. in North Lawndale.

“Food is medicine, and the mission is to help Black and Brown communities with nutritional meals,” said Javier Haro, founder of Food Hero.

The social enterprise group is working with the Little Village Community Foundation, Street Vendors Association and Latino chefs and restaurant workers as part of the effort. 

The aim is to offer fresh meals to Black and Brown neighborhoods being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 because of chronic illnesses, Haro said.

Before COVID-19, South and West side communities were already dealing with high rates of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease. The pandemic has further highlighted the healthcare inequities and a lack of access to healthy food options, Haro said.

In the last 40 days, the group has received help from community members through volunteering or fresh food donations to help neighbors “they feel have been neglected,” including undocumented neighbors who don’t qualify for federal benefits, Haro said. 

In addition to free healthy meals, Cocina RX looks to offer virtual chef coaching to help families prepare healthy foods in their homes, Haro said. 

Haro wants to introduce fresh food recipes at home to “make lifestyle behavior changes” so families live healthier lives.

Last week, Food Hero distributed 600 meals to Little Village families out of the La Villitia restaurant Sora Temakeria. 

The group looks to distribute weekly meals Saturdays throughout May to families in North Lawndale and Little Village.

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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