Englewood's IMAN food pantry helps provide neighbors with fresh groceries

Englewood's food insecurity is almost 1 in 2, IMAN says

ByJudy Hsu and Poinesha Barnes WLS logo
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Feed the Love: Inner-city Muslim Action Network pantry, Greater Food Chicago Depository provides fresh groceries in Englewood
The IMAN Food and Wellness Center and the Greater Chicago Food Depository are working fight hunger in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Inner-city Muslim Action Network in Englewood is working to put nutritious meals on tables.

"The food insecurity here, is almost one in two. And if you consider children it's even more than that," said Ahmad Jitan, IMAN community organizer.

According to The Greater Chicago Food Depository a least half of Englewood's population doesn't have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food.

"The reason I'm here, for to help me out, is because I can't get food stamps. I worked all my life, still can't get em'," said Annie McMurtry.

But that's where the IMAN, in partnership with GCFD, comes in with a mission to restore food availability and dignity with the client choice model.

"And we try to give the members the experience of coming into the grocery store. They actually get to choose the items they want," said Jamil Wright, manager, IMAN Food and Wellness Center.

The IMAN's community-driven mission aims to go beyond meeting an immediate need.

"If there's an urgent need, we can meet that need as we're also thinking about how do we address the systemic issues that create the need for food pantry in the first place," said Jitan.

The majority of the people who live in Englewood are Black, and experts say systemic racism is a driving force behind the neighborhood's lack of resources. But, program's like this one are actionable steps in the right direction.

"It's one thing to care about someone. It's a whole 'nother level of being able to actually do something about it," said Wright.

It's an example that doesn't go unnoticed.

"I'm so thankful for this pantry, I'm so happy that I ran across them," said Sunshine Tallie.

The IMAN hosts food distributions every, Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday at 63rd and Racine.