Friday, December 4, 2020

Compassion in Community - Food Bank in Chicago

As winter approaches and the coronavirus continues to spread through the city, the people at the Pilsen Food Pantry are working together to fight hunger in their community. 

Through the work of the community and mutual aid, Pilsen Food Pantry has been able to receive enough donations that they had to stop accepting them. For the month of November, the pantry was able to donate hundreds of coats, 200 pairs of children's shoes and clothing to over 200 clients. 

Photos from @pilsen_food_pantry on Instagram

Pilsen Food Pantry was created by the Figueroa-Wu Family in 2018 to fight the endemic hunger in Chicago. The pantry has four employees and is supported by hundreds of volunteers, of which include college and medical students, community members and youth. 

The Pilsen Food Pantry offers a variety of culturally inclusive foods, perishable and non-perishable, and household items such as period products, light bulbs, and other hygiene items. Food offerings are sourced daily from Greater Chicago Food Depository, Trader Joe’s, Imperfect Produce, and Whole Foods. Occasional donations come from Hunger Resource Center, food drives, and ad hoc wholesaler arrangements. Menstrual products are donated from the Chicago Period Project ( and local drives. During non-COVID times, the Pantry offers SNAP enrollment assistance.

In response to COVID, the Pilsen Food Pantry has introduced a delivery system for their clients that are unable to leave their houses. Individual public health projects have included food delivery and tracking of social and health outcomes.

Through donations and the work of volunteers, the Pilsen Food Pantry has graciously spread love and supported the people of Pilsen, Chicago. The selflessness and community organizing that is shown by members of this food pantry should be emulated in places around the world. The pandemic has only worsened the hunger and poverty crisis, so organizations such as this are essential right now. 

"The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." – Coretta Scott King.


Check out their website:

And if you are looking to donate this holiday season, here is a link to their donation page:

They are also looking for volunteers! It takes lots of hands to organize donations so your time is very valuable. 

You can also follow Pilsen Food Pantry on Instagram @pilsen_food_pantry, where they post recipes, news, and donation opportunities. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

NOW IS THE TIME to have heartfelt racial justice conversations.

 “Trayvon Martin Is Our Son Too,” were the words my friend Karen had printed on one thousand metal, pin-on, buttons surrounding a picture of her family and me. That happened in April 2012 when Karen was dying from the effects of Multiple Myeloma and her husband was recovering from a heart attack.

    On the day we decided to have the buttons made, I had gone to her home to pick her up because we planned to visit her husband at the rehab facility. She was troubled by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death. As we talked about it, her activist personality took over and she declared:

            “We have to DO something.” 

    After a conversation about possibilities – a community meeting, a newspaper article, a letter to the editor – we decided to create the button. We looked up button companies and chose one that would deliver in twenty-four hours if they had a picture by 3 PM.

    We planned to take the picture at the rehab facility in order to include Karen’s husband. As I packed the car with Karen’s walker and wheelchair, she called to me, “Don’t forget the hoodies. Bring one for everybody.  Trayvon Martin was wearing a hoodie when he was killed.”

    When we arrived at the rehab facility, Karen gave these instructions.

    “Everyone put on your hoodies. And Rosemary go get a nurse or an aide to come in here and take the picture.”

    I returned with a nurse, handed her an iPhone and joined the group posing for the photo.

            Karen explained to the nurse, who was black, “We are making a button. The words on the button will be,’Trayvon Martin Is Our Son Too.’ We will wear these buttons until justice is done.” The nurse reacted with surprise before tearing up. Then she whispered, “I didn’t think white people cared.”
    Karen died a few weeks after we had the buttons made but she lived long enough to start conversations about racial justice. We gave buttons away until they were all distributed within the community. I still have my button and will wear it now, hoping for justice. 
    This time, in 2020, we are focused on a different son. George Floyd is our son too. 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Link to the Conversation Pandemic as a Liminal Pause with Jean Bolen and Claudette Werleigh

Here is the Link to the Zoom Recording of Women's Perspective, 
Currency of the Heart, Zoom Conversation on May 15 at 2:00 PM EDT

 We will continue these conversations and focus on the idea that this time is a threshold, a liminal space where the potential to create a new future has great power. We will explore ways to use this time?  Let's imagine together and use this pause well.

Last night on 60 Minutes Arundhati Roy suggested we are "in some sort of transit lounge". 

"In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now." 

Wangari Maathai

A recording of our May 15, 2020, Currency of the Heart Conversation with Jean Bolen, Claudette Werleigh, Justine Toms and Rosemary Williams will be available here early next week.