On behalf of our entire team, we wish you – our clients, volunteers, and supporters – safety, health and peace during this trying time. To those who celebrate Passover or Easter, we wish you a happy holiday this week. During the COVID-19 crisis, we will post weekly updates about our programs and any important news we have to share. Included at the end of this post are the ways you can support the Pantry.
Since our response to COVID-19 began three weeks ago, we’ve served 84% more individuals than the same time last year. This past weekend, we completed a record 153 Home Deliveries with 21 drivers. Never in our organization’s history have we seen these numbers change so quickly or grow so large. Our essential, sometimes life-saving services are needed now more than ever. Not only are we helping the most vulnerable people in our community, but as businesses of all kinds close their doors in response to COVID-19, many have been forced to turn to a food pantry for the first time. It will take all of us to step up, chip in, and lend a hand to weather this unprecedented emergency – together.
- Lakeview Pantry is proud to partner with the Lavin Family Foundation and Cubs Charities to address food insecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak with #FeeditForward, a new initiative that uses grant funds provided by both to purchase chef-prepared boxed meals from local restaurants! The purpose of the program is twofold – to not only feed Chicago’s vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 outbreak, but to also invest in the city’s restaurant industry which has experienced massive financial losses and layoffs due to forced closure. Learn more at lakeviewpantry.org/feed-it-forward.
- CBS Chicago helped spread the word about the drastic increase in demand Lakeview Pantry is facing. Watch it below or click here to share the link with friends.
- We have hired another Pantry Coordinator to assist us on a temporary basis at our Sheridan Market: Kristy Cash! We’re very excited to have her help during this time!
- We are still in urgent need of volunteers! Are you healthy and bored at home? Do you want to give back to your community? Volunteering is an essential service during Illinois’ stay at home order! Tell a friend and sign up on your personal site! NOTE: In particular, we would appreciate the help of volunteers who are fluent in Spanish at our Sheridan Market.
- We appreciate your time and support and know that many of you are unable to join us on site as we respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide a venue for connection and questions, our CEO, Kellie O’Connell, our Director of Innovation, Drew, and our Manager of Volunteers, Aliya, will host a virtual town hall this week to provide some updates and answer your questions. Active volunteers will receive a Zoom invite via email.
- As the public health guidance surrounding use of masks has evolved, we are now asking staff and volunteers to begin wearing masks at Lakeview Pantry sites. We recognize masks are hard to come by right now and we don’t want to take medical grade supplies away from first responders and medical professionals, so we encourage you to get creative and wear any homemade mask, bandana, or scarf while volunteering. We have also placed an order for our own supply of masks. As soon as we have an initial supply for all volunteers and staff working on site at any Lakeview Pantry location, we will mandate that everyone wear a face mask. We will communicate with volunteers and staff again as soon as it becomes mandatory. We will also provide tips and safety guidelines for mask use when on site.
How to Support Our Work
- Donate: We have a critical and ongoing need for financial contributions to keep our neighbors healthy and fed. Every $1 provides 8 meals – click here to make a gift now!
- Volunteer: As we anticipate the need for food increasing in the coming weeks, we will need the help of healthy volunteers to help us pack groceries, sort food, and other essential tasks for our most vulnerable communities. Currently, all volunteer orientation sessions are being held virtually. New volunteers should email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a video orientation link and steps to become an active Lakeview Pantry volunteer. Existing volunteers should continue to follow standard procedures to sign up for shifts.
- In-kind contributions: Donating food to help stock our shelves will be essential. Many food donations from our grocery partners have sharply declined, and our supply costs are likely to increase. Our most-needed items this week are listed below. For more information on in-kind donations, please contact Bill Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, at email@example.com.
• Peanut butter
• Canned tuna
• Canned vegetables
• Canned fruit
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support during this time of uncertainty. Follow us on social media for the latest from Lakeview Pantry and updates from the front lines of the fight against hunger: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Take care and stay well,
The Lakeview Pantry Team