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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

Edgewater’s Care For Real Adds Drive-Thru Food Pantry Service In Rogers Park To Meet Still-High Food Demand During Pandemic

The drive-thru builds upon Care For Real's Rogers Park food pantry pop-up to better meet ongoing demand for food assistance during the pandemic.

A volunteer brings a cart of fresh groceries to a client at Care for Real Rogers Park.
Courtesy Care For Real
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ROGERS PARK — Care For Real is expanding its pop-up food pantry services in Rogers Park by adding a weekly drive-thru grocery distribution.

The Edgewater-based organization will debut its grocery distribution drive-thru Thursday in Rogers Park. It will take place 4-6 p.m. Thursdays at Misíon Cristiana Elim, 1615 W. Morse Ave.

The drive-thru builds upon Care For Real’s pop-up food pantry at United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Ave., which opened a year ago. The dual operations help the organization serve more Far North Side families as requests for food assistance remain at unprecedented levels.

Care For Real has served an average of 155 families each week through the Rogers Park pop-up in the past year, Executive Director Gregory Gross said.

“Even as things begin opening up, the continued need from the economic impact of the pandemic is very real,” Gross said in a statement. “Considering this sustained need, we are working to increase our capacity to provide free, fresh food to even more individuals and families who wouldn’t otherwise know where their next meal is coming from.” 

The drive-thru will be staged at Misíon Cristiana Elim’s parking lot. Drivers can enter the lot from Ashland Avenue and must stay in their cars through the process. A Care For Real volunteer will inquire about household information and dietary restrictions before distributing groceries.

The drive-thru service is possible in part because of a grant from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which awarded $2.6 million this year to community groups addressing food insecurity.

The grant has also allowed Care For Real to offer services in Spanish as well as English.

Adding a drive-thru option in the late afternoon will help Care For Real reach people who are working and aren’t available in the morning. It also makes it easier from those not from Rogers Park to receive groceries.

“We continue to look for new and convenient ways to assist people with dignity and compassion,” Gross said.

Care For Real’s Rogers Park location is open noon-2 p.m. Tuesdays at United Church of Rogers Park, 1545 W. Morse Ave.

The organization’s Edgewater headquarters hosts food distributions 9 a.m.-noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at 5339 N. Sheridan Road.

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