The Food Circle gives out fresh fruits, veggies

December 22, 2011 (CHICAGO)

It's all hands on deck every Monday morning in the community room at the 18th District Police Station when volunteers create a "pop up" food pantry to distribute high quality fresh produce to neighbors in need. They call it the Food Circle.

"The food comes from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. I go and rescue it. So it's at or near expiration. It might be slightly damaged, but it's good, fresh produce for people who are going to cook it today or tomorrow," Sarah Cummings, MGR Foundation, said.

The program is sponsored by the MGR Foundation, a non-profit funded by a technology company to promote health, wellness and community development in underserved areas. The program is run by volunteers. Wendy Hauser is retired and has been volunteering every week for the past two years.

"It's important for people to realize that it doesn't just stop with the holidays. People are in need all year long and whatever people can do just to help each other, I think it's a great thing," Hauser said.

Many of those who are on the receiving end also come every week. Princess Smith says the program doesn't just benefit their bodies, it also nourishes their spirits.

"The economy is so bad and people have given up on faith, trust and hope. If we didn't have programs like this, there's families that wouldn't have food on the table. There [are] children that would go to bed hungry," Smith said.

The Food Circle also operates at Deborah's Place on Thursdays. Learn more on the website,

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