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Care For Real Sets June Food Assistance Record, Cash Donations Critically Needed

CAM00258It was a record-setting June this year for Edgewater’s food pantry, Care For Real at 5339 N. Sheridan Ave. Not only did they provide 125,000 lbs. of food to more than 5,389 folks in 2,947 households last month, they also distributed more than 11,000 articles of clothing.

Established in 1970 by Rev. William Johnson of the Epsicopal Church of the Atonement, Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Emanuel Congregation and other members of the Edgewater Clerical Rabbinical Association, Care For Real has since grown to be one of Chicago’s largest food and clothing distributors to those in need. In 2007, they were serving approximately 10,000 people annually. However, after our country’s financial collapse, they have seen their numbers steadily grow and expect to serve 100,000 by the end of 2016.

According to Lyle Allen, Executive Director of Care For Real, the June increase in the number of people needing assistance has many reasons. He said, “Seniors have experienced cuts in a number of programs. Families are turning to us because kids are out of class for the summer and many children count on the two meals they receive when schools are in session.  Basic costs of living and running a household are on the rise. And so many social service agencies are closing their doors or eliminating staff and programs causing a real struggle for us as we try our best to keep up with what has become a daunting time for our own organization.”

Though food and clothing drives have been successful for the organization – cash, corporate and foundation donations have sharply decreased. The reality is, the much needed financial donations are crucial to the organization’s survival as they continue to survive on a shoe string budget.

Allen explained, “While we are grateful for food and clothing donations, we also need financial contributions in order to operate. Day to day operations are overseen by a team of four and a few hard working individuals in the back that see we keep up with the labor intensive and other grueling requirements associated with running our food distribution programs.  We need cash donations. And we need them now.”

Even though these crucial funds have dwindled, Care For Real still provides the assistance so many of our neighbors need. The work is emotional, physical and non-stop, but the team at the organization keep the less fortunate in the community hopeful with every food and clothing distribution.

“The love we receive from our community is astonishing.  We really are a family coming together in these turbulent times to feed our community with compassion and commitment”, said Allen. “Sometimes you wonder about your life path and where things are taking you. I’m lucky that I found my way to Care for Real.”

Care for Real accepts donations online at www.careforreal.org/donate

Contributions can also be mailed to:
Care for Real
5339 North Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60640
Attn: Lyle Allen

Allen can be reached by email at lyle@careforreal.org or by phone 773-769-6182.


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