Food For Friends partnered with the Chicago Police Department to help feed over 500 families!

On November 16th, we delivered 100 turkeys and Blue Bags as part of a HUGE event organized by the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Community Policing. . The following is an article submitted by Faleesa Square of the Chicago Police Department. Thanks to Faleesa for the nice article and the many, many pictures!!   Please check out all the pictures on our Facebook Album at 17Nov2018 – CPD Blue Bag Event

 

The Chicago Police Department’s Office of Community Policing, Food For Friends, and Second Faith Temple Community Outreach partnered together on Saturday November 17, 2018 to provide over 30,000 lbs. of food to families in some of Chicago’s most neediest communities.

Food for Friends provided us with turkeys, blue bags, and t-shirts for our volunteers who smiled as they filled the Food For Friends Blue Bags with all the side dishes to make a complete Thanksgiving Meal.

To describe the whole event, there were barriers to our success that we overcame.    The temperature had dropped within a few hours and brought with it snow that melted on contact, making the terrain a bit more treacherous.   One of the lead organizers had injured his hand early in the week in an effort to feed the hungry as he does weekly, could be seen unloading a truck with a single good hand.   Not only had the lift on the food truck broken, but also the truck could not fit under the low bridge to get to the location.  Volunteers drove over to the truck and assisted the driver to ensure that the event would go on, no matter the obstacles.

Hundreds of volunteers, working as a singular unit with the singular goal, of providing sustenance to those who needed it most, worked for hours on end, to unload, thousands of pounds of food. Simultaneously another group of volunteers was making bags of food that were be given to the first 100 families to enter, which included all the trimming for a traditional thanksgiving feast, including a turkey (thanks Food For Friends!!) and handmade thanksgiving cards, created by some wonderful children.

When the families began to enter the room to receive their Thanksgiving turkey  and Blue Bags. The looks ran the gambit, from utterly shocked to ecstatic. One of the participants, said, “I have never seen this much food in one place!”. While another stated, “I feel like I just won the lottery, do you know how much this would cost me?”.

This was not your ordinary food pantry. It was not just cans of beans from the back of the cabinet; there was everything from several meats, pop, water, coffee, and snacks, to mashed potatoes, frozen TV dinners, and organic green tea, etc.

For nine hours, Chicago’s south side had found its food oasis. Thanks to the desire of people wanting better for each other. Two members of collaborating organizations were able to field a few questions about the event and its future.

It took a collection of sponsoring organizations, charities and volunteers to pull this all off. Thanks to the Office of Community Policing, Food For Friends, Second Faith Temple Community Outreach, Com-Ed, Chicago Park District, and UJIMA for their food donations and sponsorship funding.

We distributed close to 30,000 pounds of food, including the turkeys from Food For Friends and all the rest of the food that as a part of the Hope for the Holiday Season Free Food Giveaway.  We estimate that the food we distributed went to over 500 families in total.

Why do we do this every year?  We want to be able to give families hope for the holiday and provide families with a complete meal for Thanksgiving and allow them to sit down and enjoy a meal together.  Helping and providing food for the community and needy is what inspired this event. So many do not have or they have very little.

I hope that events like this spark the desire to help in others. Please consider donating whatever you have to offer to organizations in your community.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Faleesa Square
Community Organizer, Chicago Police Department