Coronavirus Good News: Chicago food pantry creates pop-up pantry in church

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In response to a growing need for food in our communities Care for Real, an Edgewater food pantry, has decided to expand with a pop-up pantry.

The pop-up will be open from 12 pm - 2 pm every Tuesday at the United Church of Rogers Park. People will have access to canned goods, meat, dairy products, rice, beans and fresh fruit.

"This is brand new for Care for Real," Executive Director Lyle Allen said. "I think it's a testament to our staff, volunteers and the church that we were able to pull this together in three weeks."

Before the Coronavirus pandemic, Care for Real served an average of 5,000 clients a month. Allen said those numbers have grown exponentially since March and the original location in Edgewater has been inundated with new clients.

"We've been overwhelmed with the need and increase in need at the Sheridan office so we thought the pop-up is a model that would work here and that we'd be able to replicate in the future," added Jim Nixon, who serves on Care for Real's Board of Directors.

Julia Sirvinskas and her mother, Sue, have volunteered with Care for Real since 2016. Both women said they're happy organizations like Care for Real exist to help fill the cracks when it comes to food insecurity.

"People are taking everything off the shelves at supermarkets and this is the option to come and get everything you need and not have to worry about the craze of going to a supermarket," Julia Sirvinskas said.

Care for Real worked with 49th Alderwoman Maria Hadden as well as Rogers Park's Community Response Team to get the pop-up started.

Anyone in need of food assistance can go to the pop-up. Identification is not needed, but people are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing.

Jalyn Henderson is a Community Journalist at ABC 7 Chicago. She tells stories on the North Side of Chicago in neighborhoods like Uptown, Edgewater, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, West Ridge and Rogers Park. If you have a story to share in these neighborhoods you can send an email to Jalyn.L.Henderson@abc.com
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