PILSEN — An initiative aimed at helping South and West Siders most at risk for coronavirus is giving out free groceries this week in Pilsen.
We Got Us, a collaborative of South and West Side organizing groups, and Dish Roulette Kitchen will be handing out free groceries and other essential items 2-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 2242 S. Damen Ave.
Fresh fruits, dry goods, toiletries, and household cleaning items will be available.
Since their launch, We Got Us has hosted pop-up community grocery pickups at the Museum of Science and Industry, and in Austin, Jefferson Park, Cottage Grove, Pilsen and Humboldt Park.
In order to continue serving residents hit hard by the pandemic, We Got Us is also seeking donations from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. daily at 2242 S. Damen Ave.
Tanya Lozano, founder of Pilsen-based Healthy Hood, previously told Block Club that We Got Us aims to meet short-term needs in historically underserved communities where the rates of coronavirus infection are high but resources can be difficult to find.
Pilsen-based Health Hood, Ashley Smith, radio personality Hot Rod of Power 92, Ballinois, Babes Only and Project Swish are among the organizers behind the collaborative.
Black and Brown communities have been overwhelmed by the coronavirus outbreak. In April, city officials said more than 70 percent of people who have died from coronavirus in Chicago were Black.
Belmont Cragin, Little Village, West Lawn and Brighton Park, all Latino neighborhoods, had the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the state of Illinois.
Communities of color were already combating systemic health disparities before the outbreak, but the virus has brought those inequities front and center, Lozano said.
Lozano said the current health crisis makes it even more crucial for city and state officials to pay attention to the health inequalities that have long impacted Black and Brown communities across Chicago.
“We know that COVID-19 is not the killer of our community — inequality is. That’s why we are dying more than anyone else,” Lozano said. “We are essential workers. We don’t have as much access to testing or healthcare, and the education specific to COVID-19 [has] not trickled down to our communities.”
While We Got Us looks to serve an immediate need for people in the South and West Sides, Lozano said the ultimate goal is to fix the “broken system” that has resulted in health inequities that continue to harm Black and Brown communities.
Individuals looking to volunteer can sign up here.
People who need help can call the We Got Us COVID hotline at 773-839-9782.
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