For Chicago resident Dionne, things were looking pretty bleak a few months ago. A change in her living situation left her without a home, and led her to stay in a shelter. Without steady employment, Dionne wasn’t sure what her future held.
Today, Dionne has a job doing contract tracing as part of COVID-19 efforts and an apartment of her own. She’s organized her new home, displaying all her favorite things from puzzles and floral artwork to work supplies and the food she gets at Common Pantry.
Dionne discovered the Pantry pre-pandemic, when she joined the weekly community meal. A lunch turned into a dinner, which turned into the opportunity to get groceries that fit Dionne’s taste and active lifestyle. Although she can no longer “shop” inside the Pantry due to COVID-19 regulations, Pantry volunteers make sure Dionne’s grocery bags have all her favorite foods: fish, poultry, turkey and fresh produce like broccoli, string beans, oranges and apples.
“I’m better today than I was a year ago…I’m happy to have been a part of a place that is so nourishing to your spirit and your soul… fills up your belly and and warms up your heart and I thank Common Pantry for all they have done for me.”
– Pantry client Dionne
Even in the midst of a pandemic, coming to the Pantry still feels like a visit with friends, Dionne says, with many new faces joining each week.
From March to April 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, need at Common Pantry doubled overall and tripled for households with children, according to Common Pantry Executive Director Margaret O’Conor. Because of generous donors, Common Pantry has met this demand and found new ways to serve clients, from increasing home delivery for seniors to offering drive-up services.
“This community has helped make sure that we could keep these doors open for over 50 years, we’re so grateful for that, we can do even more,” said O’Conor. “We can really grow and be forward thinking if we had the support to do so and we’re really excited about that.”
To step up and support Common Pantry today, make a donation here [link to donations page: http://www.commonpantry.org/donations/.
A big thank you to our partner Big Teeth Productions, who went above and beyond to help us create this video.