Dear Nourishing Hope Friends and Supporters,
The new year approaches, as it always does, with a complex tangle of emotions for the one now swiftly receding into the past.
Putting it mildly, 2022 was a challenging year. The surge in gas prices, spurred by the war in Ukraine, and the ensuing spike in prices for food and rent prompted thousands of people to turn to us for help for the first time ever. Month by month, we served dramatically elevated numbers of families with children.
As a single mother myself, I feel deeply for the parents carrying their young children through our doors. I admire their bravery to do what’s right for their families. We’re proud to serve them.
It was also a challenging year for us at Nourishing Hope. Like frontline nonprofits across the country, we were confronted with increased need, rising costs and supply chain challenges.
But 2022 was also a historic watershed year for our (almost) 53-year-old organization. I’m immensely proud of our staff and volunteers for rising to the moment, over and over again, to help our neighbors. And I’m so grateful for your continued support through it all.
Without further ado, here are some of our top accomplishments in 2022 (in no particular order):
- We rebranded! You may have noticed. On May 20, we changed our name and brand — from the legacy name of Lakeview Pantry to Nourishing Hope. This was no small undertaking for an organization founded in 1970. But we felt it was necessary to reflect our growth and aspirations to serve more people throughout the city.
- Opened a new HQ. On the very same day of the rebrand, we opened our new 21,600-square-foot headquarters at 1716 W. Hubbard. Most commonly referred to as HQ, this new centrally located facility has allowed us to grow our impact on the city’s South and West Sides. It also freed up more space for social services at the Sheridan Market in Lakeview.
- Served a growing need. During a time of historic inflation, we saw more than 73,000 visits to our food programs in 2022, an increase of nearly 30 percent compared to 2021. Most of that growth came at our established food pantries, the Sheridan Market in Lakeview and El Mercadito in Humboldt Park.
- New name for El Mercadito. Speaking of El Mercadito, we renamed our food pantry partnership with La Casa Norte, which was previously known as the Fresh Market. We did so to better reflect and appeal to the predominately Latino community that we serve in Humboldt Park. Service levels roughly doubled at El Mercadito in 2022, a reflection of the increased need and also greater awareness of the resource.
- Honored by the Mayor. In April, Nourishing Hope (then Lakeview Pantry) was announced to be one of the winners of the 2022 Mayor’s Medal of Honor. The prestigious honor was for people and organizations “who have demonstrated a passionate commitment to public service, to uplifting residents of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods, and to bettering the lives of all who reside in the city.”
- Established new partnerships. Nourishing Hope’s model for growth continues to be based on building new partnerships with trusted organizations throughout the city. In 2022, we added nine new partners or partner locations, bringing our total to 24 partners through our online market, home delivery, and Health & Hope programs.
- Launched home delivery on South and West Sides. In 2022, for the first time in our organization’s history, we expanded our home delivery program to the South and West Sides. Though it’s still early going, we’re already serving more than 215 households a month — mostly seniors and people with disabilities who would otherwise have difficulty accessing healthy food.
- Housing support in a rental crisis. We continued to grow our social services impact in 2022. As the inflation-related rental crisis came to bear, we provided 2,155 housing case management services to more than 600 people.
- Expanded mental health team. We’re thrilled to share that we’re growing our mental health counseling team — thanks in large part to additional grant money from the Chicago Department of Public Health, which was announced in November. We recently hired a new bilingual therapist and we’re currently hiring for a clinical therapist.
- Our volunteers rocked (as always). And finally, in 2022, we once again had the incredible support of the best volunteers in the world. More than 8,200 volunteers provided us with nearly 78,000 hours of volunteer service across our sites and programs, we could not do this work without them.
In closing, I just want to say thank you for your support in a truly remarkable year. Without your support — whether you’re a volunteer, donor, partner, or some combination of the three — we couldn’t have weathered the ups and downs of 2022.
Here’s to an even brighter year of Nourishing Hope in 2023!
CEO, Nourishing Hope