Lakeview food pantry launches weekly online ordering

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Lakeview Food Pantry is launching weekly online ordering, helping families put food on the table without waiting in line for hours.

The Lakeview Food Pantry has been serving Chicagoans for almost 50 years.

Tiffany Wallace, a single mother of two, relies on the pantry to feed her family.

"My funding can only stretch here and there, they help me out a lot," she said.

The Great Recession in 2008 grew the need for the food pantry, and since then demand has stayed steady. There is typically at least an hour wait for food at the Sheridan Road location on the North Side.

"About 10 percent of the people we serve are homeless, the majority of the other people are working families, they just don't have food to make ends meet," said Bill Thomas, chief operating officer of The Lakeview Pantry.

That includes people like Colt Seidman, who doesn't make enough money to afford more than bread and ramen noodles, but his time to wait in line for healthier options has become limited.

"I started working more and didn't have as much time to go to the Sheridan location," he said.

To accommodate working families with limited time, Lakeview Pantry is the first in the city to launch online ordering. Order on a Tuesday, pick it up at the Pantry's warehouse location on a Thursday. No waits.

"It was very mobile-friendly, you could use your phone. You don't need a laptop or computer," Seidman said.

Every year the Lakeview Pantry distributes over 1.7 million lbs. of food to 9,000 families. The online market is expected to serve an additional 6,000 families.

"We believe it's going to serve a whole new group of people that we are currently not serving," Thomas said.

That includes possibly a younger and more mobile group, in which the need is there and growing.
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.