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Food Pantry Sees Increase In Need

Inside The Lakeview Pantry. (Steve Miller/WBBM Photo)

Inside The Lakeview Pantry. (Steve Miller/WBBM Photo)

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Steve Miller is an investigative reporter and has been with Newsradio...
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CHICAGO (WBBM) – the Lakeview Pantry, which gives groceries to the needy, has seen 20 percent more people show up in the past three years.

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The Lakeview Pantry is a partner of the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation.

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Gary Garland is the Lakeview Pantry’s executive director.

He says there will be 40 or 50 people already waiting in line when the pantry’s doors open for the day at noon.

“They will get about a two-week supply of food for nothing more than a wait.  At our east site here we probably see 150 people in a four-hour period.”

Garland says after people come in once or twice and get free groceries, most of them come back and ask the same question:

“‘Can I volunteer?  Can I help out?’  For some I think there’s a myth that people just want to take and take and take. They don’t.  It’s a very uncomfortable situation for most people.”

So Garland says, a big portion of the volunteers at both Lakeview Pantry sites are current or former clients.

The Lakeview Pantry has two sites that give groceries to thousands of needy people on Chicago’s North Side.

“One of my favorite things about the pantry is to walk out there and to see the people who volunteer here,” Garland says.

“Not many of us can think about the last time we worked side-by-side with somebody who was poor.  Or had lunch with somebody who was poor.  I think that’s one of the added benefits of our organization is that people have that opportunity.

“You’ll see the two groups talking who maybe only I know they’re from different backgrounds.  And there’s no wall in between them.  It’s knocked down.”

Lakeview Pantry East is located at 3831 N. Broadway.
Lakeview Pantry West is located at 1414 W. Oakdale.

More information at www.lakeviewpantry.org