Edgewater pantry feeds thousands each month

April 22, 2008 4:19:47 PM PDT
Some volunteers in Chicago's Edgewater community are offering a much-needed helping hand to residents who are having trouble putting food on their tables. They operate "Care for Real," a food pantry that feeds about 1,500 people each month and relies on donations from the public.

To several thousand residents of the Edgewater community, the address 6044 N. Broadway stands for survival. It is a pantry known as Care for Real and it's operated by the Edgewater Community Council

"We are an anchor point for many, many people. There are about 60,000 people in this community and right now we're seeing between 1,300 and 1,500 people every month fed through this facility," said Tom Robb, director.

A dozen volunteers help to maintain the operation. Robert Henderson regularly donates his time to the pantry.

"It's a great feeling," said Henderson. "It's an opportunity to help. I could be in that same situation you know. And, I'd want someone to help me."

Last year 2,500 families were served by Care For Real and this year all indications are that that number is going up.

The pantry is supported by area religious communities and receives no government assistance. Survival depends on donations.

"I'm glad this organization is here," said Marcus Smith, volunteer. "It's very helpful for everyone who walks around this area-- even out of the area people stop by from word of mouths about Care for Real and we help out everyone who comes through the door. "

"It breaks my heart that there are people here that are 55 to 65 years of age that are going homeless, that are being evicted, that are losing their homes, that are being put out by the adjustable rate mortgages. It breaks my heart but what is wonderful that in this setting we at least have a place to address a few of the issues that they face," said Robb.

According to Care for Real, 50 to 60 new families are showing up at the pantry.


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