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Angie Davis
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Lakeview Pantry Celebrates Grand Opening of New Warehouse (the “Hub”) and Launch of Online Market

CHICAGO – September 05, 2019 – Elected officials, community members and hunger-relief advocates joined with volunteers and staff today to celebrate the newest ventures from Lakeview Pantry – a new distribution center and innovative online market. The Online Market is the first of its kind in Chicago, offering low income residents the opportunity to order their groceries from a mobile device or computer and pick up at their convenience. The new distribution center at 5151 North Ravenswood, called The Hub, will serve as the pickup site for online orders and allow the Pantry to store unprecedented amounts of donated food in its 10,000 square foot space. The building also serves as the epicenter for all Pantry food operations and streamlines distribution to food insecure people throughout the North and West Sides of the city.

The Hub was primarily funded through support from the State of Illinois, a cause championed by Illinois Senate President, John J. Cullerton and Representative Sara Feigenholtz. In addition, a generous private donation from the Irene Fund II helped to complete the refrigeration in the warehouse, which now serves as the primary location for sorting and storing Lakeview Pantry’s food donations and offers cooling and freezing space that is 10 times the size of the previous Lakeview Pantry coolers.

Recognizing the unmet hunger need among busy, working individuals and families, Lakeview Pantry partnered with social impact technology funder, The Thierer Family Foundation, to develop the Online Market. Together, they created a solution that increased access to food and social services without sacrificing clients’ valuable time. The Online Market is the first-of-its-kind in Chicago and represents the next generation of hunger relief for hardworking people who can’t always wait in line for food in a traditional pantry setting.

“All of Chicago’s residents, regardless of income level, deserve access to nutritious food. Lakeview Pantry has fought for a healthy and hunger-free Chicago and has improved the lives of our residents for almost 50 years,” said Illinois State Representative Sara Feigenholtz. “I am proud to help Lakeview Pantry secure the funds necessary to open this new distribution center that will allow even more of our food insecure neighbors to thrive.”

A ribbon cutting officially opened the program and distribution center on Thursday morning. On Saturday, Sept. 7, the Pantry will hold a community open house at The Hub (5151 N. Ravenswood) from 11am – 3pm, and will welcome neighbors, volunteers and clients for self-guided tours and refreshments. All are invited to come get to know Lakeview Pantry, where the mission is, “food for today, hope for tomorrow.”

“Lakeview Pantry is proud to announce these two ventures aimed at building stronger and healthier communities,” said Lakeview Pantry CEO Kellie O’Connell.  “The launch of the Online Market and warehouse allows our organization to streamline operations and make accessing services a much easier process for residents who struggle with poverty. The ultimate goal is to expand our critical resources to more of our hungry neighbors and partner with them to create the foundation necessary to build a better future.”

Lakeview Pantry serves Chicago’s North and West sides, where approximately 1 in 9 people struggle with hunger. Every year, the Pantry distributes over 1.7 million pounds of food or 1.4 million meals to about 9,000 households. Many of those households are headed by people who are employed, yet low wages keep them in poverty. Only three percent of the pantry’s clients are homeless, and 45 percent have children under the age of 18.

Lakeview Pantry clients are thrilled about the new Online Market and are already singing its praises.  ‘The Online Market is much easier for me, especially because I don’t have to bring my kids with me. Knowing that I’m only stepping out for a minute to pick up my food and not having to wait at the Pantry for hours helps bring peace of mind,” said Areli Vazquez, a client of Lakeview Pantry.

Food distribution is not the only service clients receive through the Online Market. All clients using this program are offered access to Lakeview Pantry’s comprehensive social services during their weekly food pickups at The Hub. That means clients can schedule mental health counseling sessions and case management appointments while they are ordering groceries online.

Lakeview Pantry client, Colt Seidman said, “Lakeview Pantry has made it possible for me to make my mental health a priority. I love that I have the ability to schedule social services appointments while I’m adding items to my online grocery cart. It makes everything that much easier!”

About Lakeview Pantry

Since 1970, Lakeview Pantry has provided nutritious groceries and essential social services to residents on the North and West Sides of Chicago. Its mission is to eliminate hunger in the community by providing food to fill the basic needs of hungry people, by empowering clients to gain independence through social service programs, and by raising awareness of hunger and poverty.

For more information about the Lakeview Pantry and to donate, please visit: www.lakeviewpantry.org.

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