'Dion's Chicago Dream' free produce delivery nonprofit surprises Englewood family with $10K

Nonprofit celebrates milestone after delivery of 1 millionth pound of food

Evelyn Holmes Image
Thursday, February 1, 2024
Free produce delivery nonprofit surprises South Side family with $10K
A local nonprofit is making Chicago Proud with a celebration marking the delivery of their one-millionth pound of free produce for those in need.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's a mission to deliver fresh produce for free to people in need in the Chicago area.

The nonprofit "Dion's Chicago Dream" delivered its one-millionth pound of food Thursday, a family received a big surprise.

It was something Monica Thompson said she never expected: a check for $10,000.

The Englewood resident and longtime "Dion's Chicago Dream" customer got the surprise of a lifetime when she became the recipient of the one-millionth pound of fresh fruit and vegetables.

"Thank you God. I just thought I was getting fresh fruits and vegetables," Thompson said.

The Englewood community on the city's South Side has been devoid of full-service grocery stores and is considered a food desert.

"It's just very encouraging to know someone cares," 16th Ward Alderwoman Stephanie Coleman said.

Chicago Mayor Brandon also attended the milestone celebration.

"Dion's Chicago Dream" was started in 2020 by Dion Dawson.

Since then, the group has been delivered 70,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to 1,200 homes in Englewood and Cook County every week.

"A lot of people don't have hope, and so when I was in Englewood as a kid, and I was homeless, I always had hope," Dawson said.

Thompson said she will use the money for a much needed new laptop and to bless others.

"The piece of property I would like to obtain will be for rental to help other people, just like somebody helped me," Thompson said.

Besides her weekly box, the accountant and mother also got plenty of swag, including a grocery store shopping spree and a signed Chicago Bulls jersey. The gifts were donated by the organization's partner sponsors.

What began as a single community refrigerator will now get even bigger. "Dion's Chicago Dream" plans to open up a distribution center in Englewood, as well as a community space. It's all in an effort to invest in the neighborhood as well as healthy choices for residents.