On behalf of our entire team, we wish you – our clients, volunteers, and supporters – safety, health and peace during this trying time. During the COVID-19 crisis, we will post weekly updates about our programs and any important news we have to share. Included at the end of this post are the ways you can support the Pantry.
We’ve seen an increase of almost 40% in demand for our food programs and a 25% increase in social services in the last week alone, and our Online Market orders have nearly doubled. Our essential, sometimes life-saving services are clearly needed now more than ever. Not only are we responding to the most vulnerable people in our community, but as businesses of all kinds close their doors in response to COVID-19, many have been forced to turn to a food pantry for the first time. It will take all of us to step up, chip in, and lend a hand to weather this unprecedented emergency – together.
- While Chicago residents have been ordered to stay at home by Gov. J.B. Pritzker except for essential needs, please know that Nourishing Hope is an essential service, and is remaining open with a modified distribution model. Volunteers are still allowed to assist at the Pantry, and clients are more than welcome to come to our sites. Click here to read more from our CEO.
- The End Hunger Social, scheduled for April 30 and hosted by our Young Leaders Board, has been postponed in compliance with state and local guidelines for gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak. We are working on securing a new date for the summer of 2020 – stay tuned!
- We have created a rotating schedule for our staff to allow people to work from home and practice as much social distancing as possible while still serving our clients and neighbors in need. All staff are considered on-call during their normal hours and are available to step in and help out on-site if needed.
- We have hired THREE temporary employees to support us for the very busy next several weeks!
• Debbie Capone has been a volunteer with us for the last few months and has volunteered in just about every program we have! Debbie has previously worked in hospitality and will be assisting with programs at The Hub.
• Greg Nergaard was a longtime staff member with Nourishing Hope, most recently as the Manager of Food Programs. We are lucky to have his support during this time! Greg will also be working at The Hub supporting our Home Delivery and Online Market programs.
• Christina Neubauer will be joining us at our Sheridan Market! She most recently worked for Virtue Ciders and at Reggie’s in the South Loop and has a food handler’s certification.
- During this time of need, any volunteers in need of food assistance will be allowed to get the same distribution as everyone else at the end of their volunteer shift. (Our regular policy is that we ask volunteers to access services on a different day or location.)
- We are still in need of volunteers! If you’re healthy and able, please sign up on your personal site.
How to Support Our Work
- Donate: We have a critical and ongoing need for financial contributions to keep our neighbors healthy and fed. Every $1 provides 8 meals – click here to make a gift now!
- Volunteer: As we anticipate the need for food increasing in the coming weeks, we will need the help of healthy volunteers to help us pack groceries, sort food, and other essential tasks for our most vulnerable communities. Currently, all volunteer orientation sessions are being held virtually. New volunteers should email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a video orientation link and steps to become an active Nourishing Hope volunteer. Existing volunteers should continue to follow standard procedures to sign up for shifts.
- In-kind contributions: Donating food to help stock our shelves will be essential. Many food donations from our grocery partners have sharply declined, and our supply costs are likely to increase. Our most-needed items this week are listed below. For more information on in-kind donations, please contact Bill Thomas, Chief Operating Officer, at email@example.com.
• Peanut butter
• Canned tuna
• Canned vegetables
• Canned fruit
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support during this time of uncertainty. Follow us on social media for the latest from Nourishing Hope and updates from the front lines of the fight against hunger: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Take care and stay well,
The Nourishing Hope Team