“I Am Your Neighbor” Meals – Neighbors helping neighbors

Common Pantry, Chicago’s oldest continually-operating food pantry, with support from the chambers of commerce in Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, Northcenter and Roscoe Village have partnered with a growing list of restaurants to “open a tab” for those who are food insecure.

“This is a program we created to help our neighbors in need but also to help local restaurants stay afloat and keep their staff employed,” says David Brown, Board President of Common Pantry.

Click here for a complete list of participating restaurants.

WHAT: Supporters of this initiative can help provide meals for neighbors in need during this time when an overwhelming number of people are finding themselves struggling to make ends meet. It is not just for existing clients of Common Pantry, but anyone who might need a little extra help.

Here’s how it works: 
1. Donors call a participating restaurant and ask to charge an amount allocated to the “I am Your Neighbor” meal program. This can be done while ordering your own meal for carryout or delivery, or as a separate donation/purchase.
2. Pay the restaurant over the phone for the amount to be credited to “I am Your Neighbor.” This donation can be made in any amount desired. The donation is a meal credit for someone in need.
3. The restaurant will post a sign in their window indicating they are participating in the “I Am Your Neighbor” Program.
4. Anyone in need can stop by a participating restaurant to order a meal from the menu for carryout. They just need to mention the “I Am Your Neighbor” Program and the meal is free, with the cost deducted from the credit on the “running tab.”

“The Program is evolving to meet the needs of our clients, help keep people safe and reduce the administrative burden on pantry staff and volunteers. By opening a tab at the restaurant, there is no need for clients to come get a gift card at Common Pantry,” said Brown.

WHEN: This new program is in place for the foreseeable future.

WHERE: Participating restaurants include: Bartoli’s Pizzeria, Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar, John’s Place, Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, Turquoise, Same Same Thai Bar, Volo Wine Bar & Restaurant. Click here for a complete list of participating restaurants.

WHY: “I Am Your Neighbor” Program aims to address the growing needs in our community because of COVID-19. With new safety protocols in place, Common Pantry’s regular distribution of emergency groceries has shifted to pre-packaged groceries for clients, limiting the “shopping”
experience that had previously provided more individual choice. This new “I am Your Neighbor” program is one way to provide some level choice in our community for those in need.


           Guide for Restaurants

  • Ability to Offer Carryout/Pick up Meals
  • Post the attached sign in your window to identify as a participant.
  • Maintain accounting of donor phone or online orders of “I am Your Neighbor” Meals on your “running tab.”
  • Publicize your participation in this initiative on social media using #IamYourNeighbor, tag @CommonPantry and chambers of commerce and post on your website.

    Guide for Donors
  • In addition to continuing to support Common Pantry with your donations, please call a few of your local restaurants to purchase “I
    am Your Neighbor” meals that can be picked up by some of our neighbors in need.
  • Share your stories of which restaurants you have made purchases from so the word can get out about their participation.

    Guide for Neighbors in need of a Meal
  • Look for the “I am Your Neighbor” signs in the windows of participating restaurants
  • Feel comfortable asking if they have any meals ready for you and/or your family
  • Be considerate of the staff who are preparing your meal(s)
  • Only ask for the amount that you need for you and your family

Any questions can be directed to David Brown, board president of Common Pantry 312-543-6782 or dbrown@harrington-brown.com