Joined Hands Food Pantry plans move from St. John’s to Our Lady of Victory
by BRIAN NADIG
The Joined Hands Food Pantry, which is sponsored by Saint John’s Lutheran Church and Our Lady of Victory Parish, could be moving to a new location in 2 weeks.
Beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, is the last scheduled weekly food distribution at Saint John’s, 4939 W. Montrose Ave.
No distribution is planned for next week, with a tentative start date of Wednesday, Sept. 2, at Our Lady of Victory Church, 5212 W Agatite Ave.
Distribution at OLV is expected to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays behind the convent along Sunnyside Avenue, but plans are still being finalized, according to pantry volunteer director Rick Paulsen.
The pantry had to find a new home to accommodate the social distancing needs of Saint John’s elementary school, Paulsen said. OLV was home to the pantry until 11 years ago, when it relocated to Saint John’s because a religious order of priests began leasing the OLV convent.
The pantry, which is affiliated with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, has seen a significant increase in visitors during the pandemic. “People come from all over,” Paulsen said.
On one recent Wednesday 20,000 pounds of food was given away, believed to be a record for the pantry and at least triple the amount of food typically distributed before the pandemic, Paulsen said.
Many businesses have assisted the food bank during the pandemic, including generous donations of cheesecakes from Eli’s Cheesecake Company, 6701 W. Forest Preserve Ave., Paulsen said. Last March the Murray Bros. Caddyshack, 9546 Balmoral Ave., Rosemont, donated $7,000 worth of food, including hamburger, chicken breasts, corned beef, seafood and produce.