Open Collective
Open Collective
Major disruption to food and toiletry distribution
Published on June 10, 2021 by Qi Y

Hi Neighbors,

We are a long time due for an update regarding the food distribution which has been the mainstay of our mutual aid work for the last seven month. First, we want to thank all the folks who have volunteered your time and resources in any way or form. Many of you have contributed financially, drove for deliveries, contacted families, managed logistics or have helped out in the warehouse. We are able to provide nearly weekly food deliveries to about thirty families in the neighborhood over the last half year, this would be impossible without all of your participation, big or small. Although the pandemic has effectively ended for some of us, its many economic effects and the structural inequities it exacerbated are still here; while the threat of virus has subsided, the needs of our community have not gone away.

Major disruption to food delivery
We are facing two major challenges that have already disrupted the food deliveries. USDA Farmers to Families program, which has been the source of the majority of food boxes, has ended as of this month. In the coming weeks, we will rely on food rescue, donations, and bulk purchases to attempt to serve our communities.

The warehouse lease is ending July 15th, this has been the center of food and toiletry distribution each week. Our food distribution operation will need to be moved which will be a substantial change. The North West Side Mutual Aid hub is preparing temporary solutions, and the search for a new space is in progress.

In light of these changes we need to raise more sustained financial support for funding an alternative source of food distribution as well as continuing the toiletry distributions and contributing to the cost of new warehouse space.

We currently have $1660 left, with monthly contributions averaging about $200-300.
We want to aim for a monthly operating budget of around 1000 to cover both food (about $700) and toiletry purchases (about $300). This means we are still short to sustain an alternative source of food distribution such as bulk purchases in addition to the toiletry distribution.

Behind financial resources, we are also in great need of more hands to maintain and potentially expand the distribution. If you can drive or can contribute your time and energy in other ways, please contact us at [email protected] 

We believe in a common goal of mutual care, and your participation in this work throughout the last year has already shown that we can be compassionate, adaptable and creative as a community. As Chicagoan activist Kelly Hayes says, our best defense against cynicism is to do good, and to remember, that the good we do matters.

In solidarity,
Irving Park Mutual Aid