New Hope Food Panty relocates to Branch Community Church in Jefferson Park, open Tuesday mornings for pickup
by BRIAN NADIG
The New Hope Community Food Pantry, founded in Norwood Park in 2004, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week for its new home at the Branch Community Church, 6125 W. Foster Ave.
The pantry is open from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays for drive-through pickup only as volunteers will place the food in each car. During the pandemic clients have been unable to go into the pantry and pick out items.
The pantry also launched a delivery service during the pandemic for those who found it increasingly difficult to leave their home during the pandemic, said pantry director Donna Oberhardt. “Elderly people were just so nervous,” she said.
The pantry, formerly at 7115 W. Hood St., had been looking for a new home since 2018 because its landlord, New Hope United Methodist Church, merged with another church, and the property was for sale. The site on Hood is now home to the Arabic Bible Church Chicago.
The pantry started out as a mission of the New Hope church.
The pantry is intended to serve households in the 60630, 60631, 60646, 60656 and 60706 Zips Code areas, but “because of COVID-19, we are servicing anyone that comes,” Oberhardt said. “Lots of people lost jobs in the pandemic.”
However, the delivery service is available only to households in the listed Zips Codes.
In a typical week the pantry will provide food to 120 to 150 families, with the highest total hitting 251 during Thanksgiving week in 2020, Oberhardt said.
Clients usually receive separate bags for perishable and non-perishable items and, when available, a loaf of bread, Oberhardt said.
Typical items include peanut butter, frozen meat, produce and cereal. The pantry recently had 30-pound hams that were given to larger families.
The pantry is affiliated with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which has been donating food to the pantry during the pandemic, but normally the pantry relies on donations to cover a monthly fee for the food, Oberhardt said.
The pantry is located inside the West Building of the North Branch complex, and vehicles are instructed to line up on Moody Avenue behind the church for distribution. New clients will need to first come inside and fill out a registration card.
More information about the pantry, including, how to make a monetary donation, is available at www.newhopefoodpantry.com.