CHICAGO - As migrant families wait for work permits and longer-term housing opportunities, local organizations are going the distance to make sure they don't go hungry.
Chi-Care, a volunteer-based nonprofit that provides food and other resources to Chicagoans who may otherwise be overlooked, is serving meals and sharing hope with new arrivals. To make it happen, they’ve teamed up with the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
"We’re mixing it up, so they have a variety of meals from our local businesses," said Chef Faraz Sardharia, owner, Tandoor Char House.
Sardharia, who is also a Chi-Care board member and the organization’s culinary director, says they are currently working with 16 restaurants across the city to deliver meals to migrant shelters and police stations.
On Thursday, the organization prepared meals for migrants living in tents at the Chicago Police Department’s 18th District station located on the Near North Side.
"The root of all of this is to help and see them smile and have a great meal," said Sardharia. "We provide meal programs for shelters, so it means a lot to me as a chef, as a restaurateur, that we get to feed those that need it quality product, quality meals."
Located next to his restaurant, Sardharia has been working with Hubbard Inn and utilizing their kitchen to prepare and pack meals.
"It’s a blessing I think that we can help out people and we’ve grown to be a great organization, built a great team, and I love that we’ve been getting a lot of support from our city," said Farhan Ahmed, Chi-Care president and founder.
In recent months, their efforts have ramped up significantly. Since July, Chi-Care – in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository – has provided more than 470,000 meals to migrants. At its peak, Chi-Care was feeding up to 7,000 new arrivals per day.
All the while, the organization has continued to support Chicago’s unhoused citizens – one of its founding goals.
"It shows what’s possible in Chicago and it reinforces our belief that you don’t have to choose between serving someone who arrived yesterday and someone who has lived here their whole life," said Jim Conwell, vice president of marketing and communications for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
"Our goal is to end hunger in the city of Chicago and we know that it’s not easy to do so without the partnerships of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, as well as our local businesses and support groups like our Illinois Restaurant Association partners," said Sardharia.
National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week starts Saturday, Nov. 11.
To get involved with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, click here.
To support Chi-Care and its mission, find ways you can help by clicking HERE.