Furlough Brings a First-Time Visit to a Food Pantry
Good, steady work for nearly a decade. Then, suddenly, nothing.
That’s how it was for Albany Park resident Andrew. He worked at Navy Pier—until he was furloughed in March as a result of the pandemic.
Restaurants gradually reopened . . . so did the restaurant where Andrew and his girlfriend worked—but only at 20% capacity. They weren’t brought back.
The couple tried to get by on unemployment benefits, but to make ends meet, they sought additional help. For the first time in his life, Andrew turned to a local food pantry.
At first, Andrew says he was shy about accepting help. But he came to appreciate the fresh produce, meat, and other offerings his household received from the pantry.
The pantry that helped Andrew served nearly 120 households each week, even before the pandemic. That number has sometimes grown to more than 200 families as the crisis is wearing on. Some neighbors begin waiting in line as early as 10 a.m. for the 5 p.m. distribution.
Of this crucial support, he says, “It’s helping. That’s why we’re able to pay bills.”
Our network of food pantries has seen demand more than double when compared with January figures. On behalf of our neighbors in need, like Andrew, thank you for your support of the Greater Chicago Food Depository! The need is great, but together we are greater.