Our mission is to provide food to hungry people and end poverty through social service programming.
One in nine people in our community do not know where their next meal will come from. The clients who arrive at our doors come from a range of national, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds, so we post signage and distribute most program materials in English, Spanish, and Russian. When needed, we also rely on translators.
All clients are low-income, and almost 50% have annual incomes of $12,000 or less. About 33% of clients are senior citizens, according to the Pantry's most recent client survey, and about 14% are homeless. According to the United Way of Illinois, after a recent, almost two-year budget impasse, SNAP benefits in Illinois have been cut across all demographics and Pantry clients receive an average of $139.63 per month (the average cost of food for a family of two is $493). Nearly 50% of clients have said in a survey that they have had to choose regularly between buying food and paying rent, and almost that many have had to choose between food and needed medications.
Lakeview Pantry has a 48-year history of supporting Chicago's North Side communities, providing services that address food insecurity and working to create long-term solutions for our clients' other needs. The Pantry's primary program is distributing food to neighbors in need, supplying a two-week's worth of food once per month; allotments include fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, dairy products, bread, and non-perishable items. For those who lack cooking facilities, the Pantry provides ready-to-eat baskets of items with easy-to-open containers. Clients are encouraged to visit the Pantry weekly for additional fresh produce and bread.
Our Food Distribution program functions 6 days a week through two service sites. A household of one is provided with over 100 pounds of food from monthly and weekly pick-ups. The size of the allotment increases, of course, with the size of the household. In the most recent fiscal year, the Pantry provided 1.3 million meals to over 8,500 individuals.
Can you imagine having to choose between buying groceries and paying rent? Feeding your children or heating your home? These are the choices that thousands of people on Chicago's North Side are forced to make every day. These are the choices that Sarah*, a Lakeview Pantry client, has made for her own family. Sarah's paycheck is simply not enough to make ends meet. After Sarah pays her rent and utility bills, she has nothing left for other basic needs, like food.
That's where Lakeview Pantry has made a significant impact on Sarah's and her children's lives. Our Pantry welcomes Sarah once a month for a two-week's supply of fresh and nutritious groceries, and weekly for supplemental fresh produce and bread. Providing Sarah and her children with the basic need of food gives them the strength to make it through to the next day, and Sarah no longer has to wonder where their next meal will come from.
*Name changes to protect client privacy.