Success of Louie G Food Pantry discussed at meeting of Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association; high school students play a large volunteer role
by BRIAN NADIG
The success of the Louie G Food Pantry on the Far Northwest Side is due in large part to the efforts of high school volunteers who help collect and transport the donated items.
“We wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without the schools and their students. They’ll send their buses,” said Jocelyn McGovern, who along with Melisa Moroko founded the pantry.
McGovern and her son Max, a senior at Notre Dame High School, discussed the pantry at the April 14 meeting of the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association.
The nonprofit pantry, which was founded in 2020, is named after Louie Gonzales, who was a longtime football coach at the former Saint Tarcissus School. He was one of the first Chicagoans to die of COVID-19.
The pantry has drop-off sheds at Chase Bank, 5813 N. Milwaukee Ave., and Signature Bank, 7292 W. Devon Ave. The food is then given to distribution pantries and outreach organizations in the Chicago area.
Max said that the pantry allowed students to come together to help people at a time when many places were closed due to the pandemic. “It’s getting a lot of people involved,” he said.
In an effort to recognize the students’ efforts, McGovern said, the Louie G Food Pantry has set up scholarships for the students of Saint Patrick High School, Notre Dame Prep High School, Resurrection Prep High School and Regina Dominican High School.
General Mills donated 7,000 boxes of cereal as part of the pantry’s “Cereal 4 Summer” program to provide children with breakfast during their summer break. During the school year many children rely on their school to provide breakfast, McGovern said.
The pantry also has sponsored activities in support of tornado victims in Kentucky and Ukrainian refugees.
McGovern said that she has been amazed at the support which the pantry has received from the community.
“You think you’re not reaching people, and you go to the shed and open it up, and it’s full.” McGovern said.