EDGEWATER — An Edgewater food pantry is calling on volunteers to help raise money for its cause — an uphill battle to feed hungry mouths in the city.
Care For Real is one of many food pantries slated to participate in the Greater Chicago Food Depository's 28th annual Hunger Walk, which raises money for food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other community organizations that feed the hungry in Chicago communities.
Last year, 12,000 walkers raised $568,000 for 320 agencies, according to food depository spokesman Jim Conwell. The 2012 event was in June, but there is no date set for 2013.
Care For Real Associate Director Dzana Huseni said the walk is a great fundraising opportunity — but an opportunity her organization will struggle to take advantage of relying solely on its handful of paid staffers.
That's why the food pantry is recruiting "team captains," charged with organizing teams of walkers, finding sponsors and contributors and handling other administrative duties.
"There's no way that we could do everything by ourselves. Pretty much, we live or die by volunteers. And because it's so much work and to avoid confusion, we try to assign a captain," she said.
Anyone interested in becoming team captains for Hunger Walk 2013 can contact Care For Real at 773-769-6182 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About 500,000 people in Chicago are considered "food insecure," according to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
A report released in 2012 by the food depository showed that the Northeast Side neighborhoods of Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown had a combined 17,391 food insecure individuals. Rogers Park had a 16.8 percent rate, followed by Uptown with 16.3 percent and Edgewater with 14.5 percent of its population.
Care For Real has witnessed demand for its services nearly "triple in the past five to seven years," Huseni said.
"We used to have a majority of our clients as seniors, but that's changed," Huseni said. "We have now much younger clients, people who are desperately looking for a job but not finding one. If you really want to know how the economy is doing, come to a place like this."