Lakeview Pantry, the food pantry and social services organization, is changing its name to Nourishing Hope and opening a new headquarters it says will help it better serve Chicagoans on the South and West sides.
The organization, which is moving its offices from Sheridan Market in Lakeview, will continue to distribute food from that location. Food distribution will also continue at Fresh Market in Humboldt Park through a partnership with La Casa Norte and at its Hub in Ravenswood, where people can pick up food ordered from the organization’s online marketplace.
The name change reflects the fact that the organization has served Chicago beyond Lakeview for about four decades, said CEO Kellie O’Connell.
“We just want to be mindful that neighborhoods mean something in Chicago,” she said.
Demand at food pantries across the city, which surged at the beginning of the pandemic, has increased in recent months as food prices soar. This March, grocery and supermarket prices were 10% higher than they were in March 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The food pantry logged about 74,000 visits, online marketplace pickups and deliveries in the fiscal year that ended in March, which is more than double the number of visits in the year preceding the pandemic, officials said. Nourishing Hope plans to grow the number of visits by about 25% each year over the next couple of years.
“We’re setting the stage to be able to be nimble, or continue to be nimble, and be responsive to community needs as they change and evolve,” O’Connell said.
Nourishing Hope also provides services such as job and housing assistance and mental health counseling. The name change is meant to highlight its programs beyond food distribution.
“It’s really just true to what’s happening in our service,” said program expansion manager Natia Barnett about the name change. “Not only are we giving people the opportunity to get essential items that they need for their households, to be able to feed their families, but also the opportunity to get services that were out of their reach.”
The pantry initially began the process of changing its name in 2019, but the rebrand took a back seat during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organization’s new 21,600-square-foot headquarters, located at 1716 W. Hubbard St. in West Town, includes space for food storage, mental health offices and administrative offices.
Twice a week, Nourishing Hope will host drive-through food distribution at the West Town site as part of its online marketplace program. The program allows people to order groceries online and pick them up at various locations across the city.
“Folks already come from all over the city to pick up at the online market,” O’Connell said. “So our goal is to try to get food closer to where they’re coming from.”
The new headquarters will also make it easier for volunteers to make home deliveries, particularly on the South and West sides, Barnett said. Nourishing Hope’s home delivery program serves seniors and people with disabilities who are unable to pick up food themselves.
“It’s just a big win for the whole city of Chicago,” said José Muñoz, executive director of La Casa Norte, which partners with Nourishing Hope on their Fresh Market in Humboldt Park.
In the next year, Nourishing Hope plans to partner with an additional 30 community organizations across the city, with a focus on the South and West sides. Most of those partnerships will most likely involve serving as pickup sites for the online market program, said Trotter.
Existing partnerships include Passages Charter School in Andersonville and Primo Center in Englewood, O’Connell said.