Stop Hunger: Feed The Children Reaches Out to Chicago

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthAs some families gather around a glamorously adorned table of delectable treats and reflect on their many blessings this holiday season, others across the city will scour their neighborhood food pantry so as not to go hungry. “It is becoming increasingly common for more families to search for food this way,” said Carmen Flores-Rance, Consul president of San Lucas United Church of Christ in Humboldt Park. “Families are living out of food pantries.”

It is estimated that over 60 million families across the country are at risk of hunger. On a local scale, one in three Hispanic children in Chicago is at risk of going hungry. “Every week we serve about 300 to 400 families,” said Maria Espejel, Division director for Adolescents at Pilsen Wellness Center. “Sometimes we worry about not having enough food to donate to families, especially during the holiday season when we see a definite increase in families coming by the center.”

In an effort to remedy the appalling number of children at risk of going hungry, Feed The Children, one of the largest charities in the United States, teamed up with San Lucas United Church of Christ, Pilsen Wellness Center, and Little Village Chamber of Commerce for its Feed the Children Hispanic Campaign this holiday season to raise as many donations as possible through December 11 to help families in need.

Recently, Feed The Children brought three semi tractor-trailers full of food and essentials to help 1,200 families in the Humboldt Park, Pilsen, and Little Village communities. “Feed The Children approached us at a very good time,” said Nilda Esparza, executive director of Little Village Chamber of Commerce. “A helping hand during these tough economic times is a blessing at Thanksgiving time.” Each 25-pound box Feed The Children provides is filled with non-perishable food items, enough to feed a family of four for a week. The package also includes a 10-pound box of personal care items and a box of Avon products. “Families across the country are struggling,” said Yvonne Longsworth Orio, director for Feed The Children Hispanic Programming. “We know that there over 500,000 impoverished children living in Illinois. So Chicago was one of the cities we made it a point to reach out to because we know our fellow Hispanic brothers and sisters are in trouble and we wanted to help the communities that were hit the hardest by the economic crisis.”

Esparza, Espejel, and Flores know first hand the affects the economic climate has had for many families within the neighborhood their organization serves. “I have been with Pilsen Wellness Center for six years now and I am seeing younger family members coming into our two food pantries,” said Espejel. “It breaks my heart to see so many families suffering. To know that children are going hungry…I am grateful Feed The Children decided to partner with us because now we are able to feed a lot more families.”

Feed The Children, San Lucas United Church of Christ, Pilsen Wellness Center, and Little Village Chamber of Commerce are encouraging Chicago residents to become part of the solution to eradicate hunger. If you are interested in learning ways in which you can become involved, visit Feed The Children at, or call 800-627-4556. You can also visit the following sites:

San Lucas United Church of Christ
2914 W. North Avenue

Pilsen Wellness Center
2319 S. Damen

Little Village Chamber of Commerce
3610 W. 26th Street 2nd fl

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