PORTAGE PARK — Hundreds of families in need can get free groceries and a Thanksgiving bird this weekend on the Far Northwest Side.
Storehouse Church, 5701 W. Montrose Ave., will give away 500 bags of groceries Saturday with a full turkey or a chicken for the holiday. Each bundle will have essentials like pasta, sauce, baked goods, vegetables, fruits, rice and condiments.
Bags will be available for pickup 9 a.m.-noon Saturday. The church will offer an option for people to get groceries loaded into their car, but they can also walk to get their bag.
The care packages were prepared by a group of volunteers. Mark McClendon, an elder in the church who helped prepare the bags, said the giveaway is for anyone in the community and is a way for the church to give back and help others.
“We recognize that we want to express love with everybody, so we want to open up our doors as much as we can so that people who are in need can come in and we can do what we can to help them,” said McClendon, who has been a parishioner for more than a decade. “Hopefully that will help relieve some pressure and hardship.”
Last year, the church’s Thanksgiving giveaway helped 330 families. Seeing the need, the church community — home to about 100 families — decided to upgrade the number and aim to feed 500 people, McClendon said.
Storehouse Church also manages a free fridge that is always stocked with fresh food for the community that sits on North Major Avenue on the side of the building.
Nadine Rivera, a church member who helps manage the fridge, said it was inspired by the Love Fridge program.
Volunteers from nearby schools and parishioners help keep the fridge clean and donate food to it when possible, she said. Since launching the fridge in July, its popularity has grown in the community. Next, the church plans to build a small closet with free blankets and coats for folks experiencing homelessness.
“Last week, we started adding dog and cat food, toiletries, paper towels, so we are listening to the community on what they need,” Rivera said. “[We are] giving back to the community.”
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