The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, in coordination with Catholic Charities and our local Parish Conferences, hosted Mobile Food Pantry Events across the Chicagoland area this week. Here on the Southside, volunteers distributed more than 480 boxes of produce containing fresh fruits and vegetables at St. Gall, located in the Gage Park neighborhood, and at Our Lady of the Ridge, in Chicago Ridge. Jack Santori, OLOR Conference President, knew that there was a significant amount of food insecurity and need in our communities and with Tom Moritz, District President for OLOR, worked to secure the contact-free, pop up event that took place on September 17, 2020. The line of cars that snaked around the parking lot, some arriving over 30 minutes before food distribution was scheduled to begin, was a testament to Jack and Tom’s insight. By 2:00 pm, with an hour left of scheduled time to go, nearly all of the 120 boxes had been packed into cars and sent on their way.
“The mobile pantry went better than I could have hoped,” Mr. Santori was quoted during the event, “we weren’t sure that we would get a turnout, though we know people are suffering from hard times in the Southside currently. We feel that not enough neighbors are aware that we run a St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry here at Our Lady of the Ridge and were just hoping that by spreading the word at Church and via social media, we’d reach those that need us the most.”
Patti Metsler, who heads the food pantry at Our Lady of the Ridge that takes place on the second Saturday of each month, loved the selection of fresh produce the boxes offered. “Just because a person is food insecure, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to have quality, nutritious items available to them.” She shared, “We work hard each month to vary our selection because we know these items make up meals that sustain families and individuals.”
A big thank you goes out to Catholic Charities, the Our Lady of the Ridge Catholic Church St. Vincent de Paul Conference volunteers and Fr. Wayne Svida, pastor of Our Lady of the Ridge. Your work is so important to your local neighbors and communities!