Chicago food pantry relied on Dom's for donations: 'It's a pretty big shock'

Dom's, Foxtrot closed abruptly last month, blindsiding customers and employees

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Thursday, May 2, 2024
Chicago food pantry relied on Dom's for donations
Chicago food pantry Care for Real in Edgewater relied on Dom's Kitchen & Market for donations. Now, they have a shortage of meals.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been more than a week since a pair of grocery store chains abruptly shut down.

Now, the impact of Dom's and Foxtrot's sudden closures is having an unexpected effect on a Chicago food pantry.

Whether it's apples, oranges, asparagus, canned goods or cakes, the North Side Food Pantry "Care for Real" relies on several grocery store donations, including the now shutdown Dom's Markets.

"We went for our regularly scheduled pickup on a Tuesday, and our driver was told, 'we don't have any items for you, so it's a pretty big shock,'" said Kate Gignac, Care for Real director of programs.

Similar to Dom's Kitchen & Market employees and customers, Care for Real was blindsided by the grocery store's sudden closure. Dom's was one of Care for Real's biggest rescue partners, contributing more than 5,000 pounds of food a month.

"One of the most important things were the refrigerated items and ready-to-eat foods; ready-to-eat foods are the items that Dom's shoppers loved, right?" Gignac said.

RELATED: Closure of Foxtrot, Dom's markets impacting Chicago-area small businesses that supplied stores

Since Dom's closed, Care for Real's huge refrigerator storing the ready-for-made meals has sat empty. Unhoused clients or people without kitchens relied on the meals, including Charles Ross.

On Thursday, he was hoping to grab a Dom's sandwich.

"About nine months ago, I lost my job. I was sleeping on a tent on the beach, and was coming over here. And they were giving me food," Ross said.

Care for Real is working with the Chicago Food Depository to fill up the empty fridge. It is hoping another grocery store can donate ready-to-eat meals, as the need keeps growing.

"When food is becoming a bigger and bigger chunk of that paycheck without any relief in sight, it's really overwhelming. It's overwhelming for us, and it's overwhelming for our clients," Gignac said.

So far this fiscal year, Care for Real has seen a 46% increase in food pantry visits compared to last year.

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