CHICAGO (CBS) — We’ve heard many stories the past few weeks about people divided by politics and race.

But this is a story about people coming together.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has more from the Auburn Gresham neighborhood.

One neighborhood spared by looting is reaching out to another that was hit hard. One of the neighborhoods boarded up and picking up the pieces is where Rebekah Wise is raising two young boys alone.

“We’re holding in there, staying prayed up and praying for the best,” Wise said.

Auburn Gresham and other South Side communities were already food desserts with limited resources. Civil unrest made a bad situation worse.

“It’s actually not easy at all,” Wise said. “I have to travel to the grocery store. It’s like 30-45 minutes just to get to the grocery store.

About  60 blocks north, the Pilsen Food Pantry serves those in need. Though this community was spared by violence, they felt compelled to act.

“It was heartbreaking to us to see what happened in other communities,” said Dr. Evelyn Figueroa of the Pilsen Food Pantry. “I also wanted to be part of the recovery and healing.”

So the call went out throughout Chicago and the suburbs for food, clothing, and baby supplies. The response was overwhelming.

“The drive generated 32,000 diapers, 100,000 baby wipes,100,000 ounces of baby formula,” Figueroa said.

Olivier Alexander lives in Wilmette and collected two vans full of donations.

“We are trying to make a difference,” Alexander said. “It’s a way to make sure people stay supplied. I can’t just let them suffer out there. Something has to be done and it’s only going to be done by the community.”

On Monday, the supplies were transferred, ironically, to a vacant grocery in Auburn Gresham for a much needed distribution Tuesday.

“This is about us and what we can do to support each other, Figueroa said. “Something happens to our brothers and sisters in Auburn Gresham, it also happens to us.”

And a mom this volunteer never met will tell you the same.

“Me myself, I feel like we are blessed to have people come out and help us not only think about themselves and think about other people,” Wise said.


Vince Gerasole