ROGERS PARK — North Side nonprofit Care for Real is opening a weekly pop-up food pantry in Rogers Park.
Care for Real will host the first satellite food pantry noon-2 p.m. Tuesday outside of United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Ave. The pop-ups will be held at that time and location every Tuesday, charity leaders said in a statement.
Care for Real served an average of 5,000 clients a month before the pandemic devastated the local economy and caused huge spikes in unemployment. Once the outbreak hit Chicago, the nonprofit saw a “tidal wave” of increased demand as it sought to ramp up its efforts.
Care for Real’s leaders then learned there also was urgent need for food assistance further north, thanks to a Facebook post from the Rogers Park Community Response Team.
That team is a volunteer-led neighborhood group seeking to help Rogers Park residents through the pandemic. The group’s hotline was receiving over 100 requests for food each month, according to the Facebook post.
Other Rogers Park nonprofits such as the Howard Area Community Center also have mobilized to provide food assistance during the pandemic.
“Unfortunately, there were very few food pantries in Rogers Park, and some of those that did exist closed or reduced their hours due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Nina Newhouser, Care for Real’s expansion committee co-chair, said in a statement. “It was clear we needed to step in to help.”
As it seeks to grow its food assistance program, Care for Real Executive Director Lyle Allen said the Rogers Park pop-up may be the first of more satellite operations. Far North Side neighbors have raised over $27,000 to help Care for Real provide further assistance during the pandemic.
“So much need is out there,” Allen said. “Tuesday is a big step forward for Care for Real as we extend our outreach and programs to help ensure no one goes hungry.”
Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) suggested Care for Real hold its satellite pantry at United Church of Rogers Park due to its central location and access to public transportation.
The Rogers Park pop-up pantry will offer pre-packed bags of food, including non-perishable canned fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta and juice. Other items, including fresh produce, meat and baked goods, will be distributed when they are available.
Anyone in need of food assistance can come to the pop-up, and special identification is not needed. Those who do attend the pop-up are asked to wear a facemask.
Care for Real’s existing food pantry, 5339 N. Sheridan Road, has had to change up its operation to comply with social distancing practices. Clients can no longer “shop” for the items they desire and will instead get pre-packed bags of goods. The charity’s clothing closet has had to close due to the outbreak.
To donate to Care for Real, click here.
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