CHICAGO - Between rising gas prices, inflation and the pandemic, Chicago food pantries are seeing a huge spike in need.
At "Care for Real" in Edgewater, in addition to groceries, they have added toiletries, diapers and clothing. They said they have seen a 332% increase in first-time clients, many of them Ukrainian refugees.
Student intern Sofia Dekhytyar, who speaks Russian, has served as an important resource in helping eliminate language barriers.
"A lot of our clients here are Russian speaking, especially Russian-speaking elderly and in the last few months we've had a lot of Ukrainian refugees come in who speak Ukrainian and Russian, so it's been great because I've been able to connect them with services," Dekhytar said. "A lot of them don't speak English so I've been able to help with that."
Workers said lines have been long ever since the pandemic, prompting "Care for Real" to open a second location in Rogers Park.