|What happens at the Mobile Food Pantry?
|(Click on any image on this page to enlarge, then hit the "back"
button on your browser to return to the image you were viewing.)
At about 9:00 a.m. Mike
from the Greater Chicago
Food Depository pulls into
the parking lot next to Kelly
Hall in a big semi-trailer
truck filled with fresh
produce and other staples.
Volunteers help set up
tables on both sides of the
|Volunteers fly into action unloading food from the truck. The food is unloaded from each side of the truck and sorted into
manageable sacks by volunteers. Below you see fresh produce, including lettuce, strawberries, and melons being sorted
for freshness. Dry goods from the other side of the truck are sorted, bagged and distributed: chicken salad, macaroni &
cheese, canned green beans and peaches, noodles, spaghetti, tuna and more. The type of food on the truck varies from
month to month. This usually takes anywhere from a half hour to 45 minutes.
|Mary, age 10, escorts a lady to the first stop
and helps her with her selections.
|Then neighbors from the area arrive early, sometimes before 8:00 am. They take a
number. We usually have 250 numbers printed up but the number of families we
serve depends on how much food is delivered on a particular day. Typically, we
serve between 225-250.
Then they wait for their number to be called. Until Kelly Hall opened in January, they
had to wait outside, but now they are served refreshments and wait comfortably
inside Kelly Hall out of the rain and cold. Once we've unloaded the truck and bundled
the food, the process is usually pretty fast. We can serve about 250 families in a little
over an hour.
Other volunteers are waiting and ready to help distribute the food.
At each station, great volunteers wait for the next "customer."
|Now volunteers line up to greet each neighbor and escort him
or her around the truck to gather what they want from each
station. We have only had rain one Saturday in almost two years.
Be sure to dress for the weather!
|When their number is called,
they sign in with their name and
address, then proceed to the
|Those are the "mechanics" of what happens at the
mobile food pantry on Saturday mornings, but
much more than that occurs.
Our young people,
with their friends
and/or their family
members, learn to
morning sharing of
learning what it
means to love their
|People from all
other parts of the
United States and
United States and
even the other
parts of other parts
of the United the
United States and
States even the
world, come to
world, come to the
Mission to spend
together to do
God's work in a
most tangible way.
|Parents and grandparents bring their children and grandchildren.
Some children bring their parents! What is that old saying?
Families that pray together, stay together.
|"Here are my mother and my brothers!
For whoever does the will of my Father in
heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
|Volunteers take each neighbor around from station to station. The Mission has carts that we
generally use. Some neighbors bring their own carts. The parking lot is fenced. No one under 18
may leave the fenced area unless accompanied by a parent.
|When all the food is gone, volunteers
help put the tables away, pick up
empty boxes and dispose of them,
and help Fr. Bob take the carts back
to the rectory. Mike pulls the
semi-truck out of the parking lot and
we all go home feeling pretty darn
good. We are usually done by 11:30,
sometimes sooner, but volunteers
should carve out from 9-noon on
Fr. Bob's 20 years of experience with
similar operations in the Bronx and
Our Lady's oversight is evident in
the smooth operation of the mobile
|Many different groups come to help: church, civic, youth groups, current university students,
alumni clubs, and groups of friends. A lot of very good hearted people come together to
help some other very good people-- all in His name.
|This is what happens at the mobile food pantry at the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels.
Friends, family and complete strangers gather together for a few hours
and become family - a community of faith.
To become part of the Mission family, call Fr. Bob at 773-486-8431.
We hope to see you soon.... and often!
Oh wait.... And thank you from those we serve.
Be assured, you make a difference in their lives - a very good difference.