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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Free Breakfast Program Inspired By Black Panthers Offers Kids Vegan Meals In South Shore

Community organizations are partnering to hand out dozens of healthy breakfasts to neighborhood kids every weekday morning at the Quarry, 2427 E. 75th St. They also deliver 30 meals daily to a local youth center and children's shelter.

Organizers of the free breakfast program for kids pose outside the Quarry Event Center in South Shore.
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SOUTH SHORE — Free vegetarian breakfasts are available to local kids every weekday through a community-focused program inspired by the Black Panthers.

Several dozen grab-and-go meals are available 8-9 a.m. Monday-Friday at the Quarry Event Center, 2427 E. 75th St.

Chefs from Chatham-based restaurant Soul Veg City have prepared the meals since October.

A breakfast delivery program will begin next week; you can sign up here. A total of 30 meals are also delivered every weekday to the Rebecca K. Crown Youth Center, 7601 S. Phillips Ave., and a nearby children’s shelter.

The meals may include items like oatmeal, grits, fruit, pancakes, a tofu scramble, a couscous-based breakfast patty and toast. All items are meat- and dairy-free, and the offerings change on a daily basis.

The breakfasts “function as an introduction to a healthier diet,” said Ayinde Cartman, executive director of Real Men Charities, which runs the Quarry. “Even if it’s not the same families [receiving meals] consistently, it’s important for everyone to experience a dairy-less and meat-less breakfast.”

The South Shore initiative is directly inspired by the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for School Children program. “Fred Hampton is my favorite revolutionary,” Cartman said.

“Everyone has a lot of reverence and respect for the Black Panther Party,” he said. “To be able to revitalize an initiative like [the free breakfast program] in a time of need … is something that’s worthy of our time and dedication.”

Organizers need donations of the following foods to sustain and expand the program:

  • Fruit of any kind, but particularly cantaloupe, kiwi, honeydew, pineapple and other fruits that may be new to children.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Grits.
  • Pancake mix.
  • 100 percent juice boxes.
  • Multigrain or wheat bread.

Donors can call or text the Quarry at 312-259-1143 to schedule a drop-off. Financial donations can be made through the Quarry’s website or sent to $QuarryChi on CashApp.

In addition to Soul Vegetarian, the Quarry and Real Men Charities, the program is backed by New Era Chicago‘s community network.

Soul Veg City currently operates a pop-up location at the Quarry as the restaurant continues renovations to its permanent space at 205 E. 75th St. Renovations to the Chatham property are set for completion next month, Cartman said.

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