Lakeview Pantry opened in 1970 with the mission of providing food to people living below the poverty level. Today we not only distribute groceries, but also help clients address the issues that often lead to food insecurity, such as unemployment and housing instability.
Lakeview Pantry is one of the longest-lived food pantries in Chicago. It originated from the efforts of a few dedicated neighbors who wanted to help people in their community who were struggling to secure the food they needed.
Lakeview Pantry History
- Lakeview Pantry is incorporated as “The People’s Pantry of Lakeview” on April 10, 1970
- While over 26,756 visits are made, clients receive only a 2.5 day supply of food. Today all clients receive approximately a 14 day supply.
- The Pantry moves from a storefront on Halsted Avenue to 3212 North Broadway, the Jane Addams Center, where it will remain for 32 more years.
- The average size of a family served by LVP is 4.2 people. In 2009, because of cultural shifts and the loss of affordable housing in our community, that number had dropped to 2 people per family.
- Our 1974 budget is $44,100.
- We secure our first new vehicle, a 1975 Dodge Tradesman van which LVP leaders described as “so badly needed”.
- Two of the successful board fundraisers of 1976 included a square dance raising $350 and Christmas caroling on Broadway which brought in $200.
- The Lakeview Pantry board briefly considers starting a soup kitchen with another organization, but decides that staffing it as needed would be too difficult.
- Lakeview Pantry becomes one of the founding members of the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). GCFD has grown to be the number one food donor to Lakeview Pantry providing us with approximately 400,000 pounds of food in 2009.
- Our 1981 annual report notes that “the lower number of people served is primarily due to a shift of affordable housing to the north and west of the Pantry’s present boundaries. If this shift is felt to be a permanent one, our community responsibility would cause us to seriously consider the expansion of our boundaries…”.
- The number of individuals served in 1981 was 5,153.
- The Pantry receives $4,700 of USDA government cheese. The cheese, a staple familiar to many who work and support pantries in the 1970’s & 1980’s, will no longer be provided by 1989.
- For the first time in 14 years, LVP clients make over 10,000 visits. 1985 is also the first time that the value of food distributed exceeds $100,000.
- The organization introduces “a new dynamic coordinator, Gary Garland”. 24 years later, Gary is still hanging around.
- As housing costs rise throughout the city and in our community, we see an increased demand from a previously little noticed group – the homeless.
- In March 1989, Lakeview Pantry launches a home delivery program for disabled individuals in need of food. Serving 5 homebound people that month, the program has grown to serve 190 people each month today.
- The continued growth of the homeless population is evident in the fact that 25% of those we serve in 1990 are homeless – the highest percentage in our history.
- For the first time in our history, LVP becomes a multi-staff organization with the hiring of Christina Whitehead in the position of Assistant Director. Christina will remain on staff until 2007 and is credited with professionalizing our development efforts.
- 240 people, the most ever served on a single day at LVP, receive food the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 1993.
- In 1995, food donations have more than tripled since 1985 totalling $336,000.
- The Pantry adopts a new mission statement. Today it is still being used – read it here.
- To maximize the growing demand of community residents hoping to volunteer with us, Tracy Napoli joins us as a part-time Volunteer Coordinator.
- Laurie Colton become Lakeview Pantry’s first new Pantry Coordinator after 12 ½ years of Gary Garland running our distribution. Gary takes over the newly created Executive Director position.
- In his new role, Gary launches our Bootstraps case management program.
- 1998 Volunteer of the year is Aida Moran. She is one of about 20 volunteers who gave their time in 1998. In 2009 Aida celebrated 22 years of volunteering with us!
- The Pantry distributes over 400,000 pounds of food for the first time in our history.
- Lakeview Pantry launches a “Donor Bill of Rights” which outlines our responsibilities to those who make our work possible.
- For our clients, Lakeview Pantry implements client choice – allowing those coming to us for food to choose more of the products they receive.
- Greg Nergaard joins as our new Pantry Coordinator.
- The Jane Addams Center, our home for the past 31 years, announces that they will be selling the building we occupy and moving out of Lakeview.
- The September 11th tragedy brings first time clients – especially those who lost jobs in the airlines and hotel industries – to our doors for help.
- Jane Addams Center shuts down and we move into our new beautiful distribution site at 3831 N. Broadway.
- Lakeview Pantry’s leadership begins merger discussions with Lincoln-Belmont Pantry, a struggling pantry in the western section of our community. In anticipation of the merger, we hire Carrie McCormack for the Pantry’s new West Lakeview Pantry Coordinator position.
- In June 2003, our merger with Lincoln Belmont Pantry is complete and we take over the operation of their site. By the end of the year, the number of clients receiving food at the site has doubled to 400.
- Lakeview Pantry staff are invited to participate in a steering committee for Pantry University, a new food pantry training facility launched by the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
- An October fire destroys our West Lakeview site. Despite this terrible event the Pantry is operating again in a week, first out of a van and then in space donated by another non-profit. With the support of our generous donors we reopen the renovated site six months later.
- An increased focus on securing healthier food helps us to end the year collecting and distributing over 50,000 pounds of fresh produce.
- 200 volunteers give over 6,000 hours of time in 2004 to help support our mission.
- Lakeview Pantry receives funding for a new staff position, Director of Client Services. The goal of the position is to help address the second part of our mission statement “increasing the independence of our clients through self-help initiatives.” In its first year, the program assists 117 clients with concerns beyond food security.
- Meeting the primary goal of our “Thanks A Million “ campaign, Lakeview Pantry collects and distributes over 1,000,000 pounds of food for the first time in our history.
- Hundreds of volunteers are now giving nearly 10,000 hours of time to LVP. An anonymous donor gives us funding to harness this human energy by hiring our first ever Director of Volunteers.
- Bootstraps launches the Job Search and Support Program (JSSP) to further help clients in seeking employment.
- More than 300 regular volunteers gave nearly 15,000 hours of their time to LVP.
- Lakeview Pantry received two awards from the Greater Chicago Food Depository: the Best Food Program Operations and Processes Award, and the 2008 Quality Performance Award.
- The JSSP is able to purchase a client computer to aid in online job searching.
- The Home Delivery program announces an effort to expand client choice to homebound clients by offering the option of customized bags for those with special dietary needs.
- The active volunteer corps grew to nearly 450 individuals who provided more than 18,000 hours of their time.
- The Strategic Plan, a five-point statement, was adopted to formulate a clear cut plan of action as to how Lakeview Pantry would successfully execute its vision.
- Lakeview Pantry broadens its service approach by adding an Education and Advocacy Program to help the organization better understand its clients. The program is designed to fully address the third pillar of the mission statement that commits to “raise awareness of hunger and poverty and work toward solutions to eliminate them”.