Yes, you read that correctly. The Chiditarod Foundation gave out $120,000 in Community Grant for both programs and infrastructures.
After a record breaking year of fundraising through a completely virtual Chiditarod, this year’s grant cycle was able to help more organizations than ever before. There are twenty-three organizations who are benefiting from the generosity of donors who have given so much to the cause to helping solve food insecurity in the Chicagoland Area.
This year aside from a volunteer take over day at the Greater Chicago Food Depository we also presented them with a check that equated to 22,500 meals for those who are in need of immediate food.
The AUA currently helps over 75 urban farm businesses and 650 community and school gardens in the region as a resource provider, connector, and advocate. Their grant from Chiditarod will support their Community Outreach Specialist to proactively build relationships with new and existing community partners, promote the work of partner organizations and support AUA’s existing program and advocacy initiatives.
This organization works with youth and young adults in the Howard and Rodgers Park area with after school programming, job development, community outreach and food pantry. Their grant will go directly towards their twice-monthly food pantry, which provides groceries, medical supplies, and household essentials for who cannot afford or access essentials through other channels. These events also serve as a point of connection between individuals and families in need of food security and vital wrap-around services.
This group provides fundamental food, clothing and healthcare programs for individuals in Chicago experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Their “no questions asked” policy removes the most common barriers to assistance and connect service providers to those in need. They grant they receive will help with their mobile pantries, which increase food access for people with limited food options and means of transportation. This will allow people have access to healthier options than the limiting ones of local corner stores.
Reaching a 10 mile radius between Humboldt Park, East Garfield, West Town and Lawndale, Cocoa Chili’s #FeedTheCommunity Initiative provides free, complete meals (entree + veggie + side) to anyone experiencing food insecurity. Neighbors in need can contact their restaurant directly to request a free meal for themselves and their household, including delivery if needed. They partner with local shelters to provide hot meals and distribute cold-packed meals to local Love Fridge locations throughout the city which are freely accessible to anyone in need.
GSM has provided food access incentives for to more than 30% of residents in the West Ridge, Uptown, Edgewater and Andersonville neighborhoods since 2010. Their Market For All Program increases food security by giving SNAP shoppers day-of-market dollar for dollar matching grants to increase their purchasing power. Their Chiditarod Grant will allow them to resume providing additional matching grants to allow for the purchase of all SNAP approved foods.
GCM For All is a mission-critical program that welcomes and matches Link dollar-for-dollar for up to $15 at all of their markets, doubling the purchasing power of those using Link benefits. The the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they have seen many Chicagoans are experiencing unprecedented food insecurity. They grant from the CHIditarod Foundation will provide critical funding that will support Chicagoans facing food insecurity and provide access to fresh food to those who need it most.
This group provides relief from hunger and lack of housing while developing skills to assist refugees and domestic violence/trafficking victims obtain employment.They have weekly mobile distributions reaching all areas of the city, including the south and west sides, to distribute care packages to the homeless. Their grant will also help temporarily provide groceries to the families of refugees and domestic violence/trafficking victims after resettling them.
Last year, Lakeview Pantry served almost 200,000 individuals and distributed the equivalent to 4 million meals across the Chicagoland area. The economic impact of the pandemic caused a 400% increase in demand for emergency food services as more and more people used a food pantry for the very first time. Funds from the CHIditarod Foundation will help support Lakeview Pantry’s food access programs during 2022. This will be used to purchase staple food items to keep our shelves stocked. Lakeview Pantry prides itself on the ability to provide a balanced diet to households and often purchases staple items like dairy products and eggs to keep our shelves stocked.
Serving Will County and Southern-Cook County, this organization had a volunteer who cooked hot meals and delivered them, along Blessing Bags, during the COVID pandemic. Each month, 827 homemade meals were delivered as well as offering Pick-Up Meals. Their grant from Chiditarod will fund programs and services to 300 families a month.
-This group brings food to food deserts in Country Club Hills & Chicago Heights. They distribute meal bags to the tent cities located near Burnham Park and Aldine Square, as well as regular food distributions in Grand Crossing on the South Side of Chicago. The funding they receive will help with food distributions every Friday on the Near West Side at Chicago Hope Academy as well as the program with Inner City Impact, providing meals and snacks to over 200 children for Summer and After School Programs and Camps.
As a complement to the SkyART Studio Programs, the Family Table program was introduced to the public in fall 2018. This program provides access to healthy meals and snacks during programs while teaching youth the skills necessary to sustain healthy eating habits in their homes and community. The grant from Chiditarod will help provide home-cooked meals, teach youth about nutritious snacks and meals as well as how to harvest organic food from four-city lots Artist’s Garden. They also host community produce giveaways year-round.
Streetwise Magazine is going into it’s 30th year of providing a voice and opportunities for homeless and low-income individuals. Other than their job placement programs, Streetwise also has supportive services including distributing emergency clothing, hygiene kits, and providing meals and pantry items. The Chiditarod grant goes toward the StreetWise Cafe which provides hot meals, pantry items and wellness education.
Their program Growing Solutions Farm (GSF) is a 1.2-acre community farm in which young adults are employed and gain workforce experience. Urban Autism Solutions is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization dedicated to changing outcomes for young adults with autism with 90% of participants from under served communities and living live at/below the national poverty level. Their grant will help provide hands-on experiences, social interaction, community engagement, paid employment and enhanced job skills.
Serving clients from 13 different zip codes, and working with produce wholesalers, food rescue partners, the USDA, and individuals, Beyond Hunger asked for assistance in an additional refrigerator and freezer. These will increase the storage of produce and protein provided clients. Beyond Hunger’s food distributions provide more than 75 lbs of food per visit, including 20 lbs of fresh produce. The additional space will make sure they have plenty of cold storage space.
This group is literally hitting the streets to help solve food insecurity. Their funding goes to their Free Meals on 3 Wheels program which will be serving meals to individuals from an electric tricycle. This distribution method will allow us greater access to the community not as easily reach by a van or to people who are not able to have pantry access.
Serving the Northwest side and Suburban areas, with a variety of services including a 44,000+ square foot warehouse with a fully stocked food pantry for those in need. Their grant will go towards a new clear front refrigerator unit so clients can view and select items which need refrigeration.
Dignity Diner plans to add one more night of meals as well as use the space as a warming center in the winter. Their grant will go towards renovation of the gallery area for a kitchen, shower, washer/dryer and the basement for storage. The new space will also include a “store” for guests to shop for items to help with everyday living.
The Pilsen Food Pantry, an emergency food pantry, has doubled its reach over the past year. The most sought after items are fruits and vegetables, which are perishable and often require refrigeration. Their grant funds will go towards helping secure a van allowing the pantry to expand the delivery schedule, accept and move large donations, and transport transfers to our mutual aid partners.
Reach 1,800 K-12 students each year, through programs held in the spring, summer, and fall Gardeneers’ Chiditarod grant will go towards a tractor for their school farms and gardens that grow and give free produce to communities. The impact will allow employee’s time and physical exertion to be focused on their work with students and increasing the quality of the programming they delivered as well as increaseing compose made instead of being purchased.
Since 2012, GPCA and the Garfield Park Community Council’s Garden Network, which includes 10 community vegetable gardens, have partnered to grow fresh, organic produce to help meet some of the community’s need. Their Chiditarod Grant will got towards raised beds, garden tools, and harvest equipment.
Inspiration Cafe traditionally serves restaurant-style meals to those experiencing homelessness,and expanded meals production to meet rising need during the pandemic, providing to-go meals to any community member in need. Their funding is for repairs at Inspiration Cafe and Inspiration Kitchens, to ensure their meals can continue to reach the communities they serve.
Due to exacerbated food insecurity in the city, NECA’s food pantry currently serves an average of 2118 clients monthly, a steep increase from the 200 served 2 years ago. They have been working with Star Farm Chicago to improve current food access. NECA’s funding will go directly towards purchasing equipment necessary to transport food to and from the organization.