CHICAGO — A day after reports surfaced that he asked the Salvation Army to stop using its outreach trucks to serve meals to the homeless in Uptown, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said he hopes to work with the Salvation Army in helping the needy.
In a statement posted on his website, Cappleman said he was "disappointed" that what he describes as overtures to provide "new solutions" were rebuffed by representatives of the charity organization.
"No one should ever have to be worried about where his or her next meal will be," he said.
On Friday night, the Sun-Times reported Capplemen had ordered the Salvation Army to stop its outreach, in which it serves meals to the homeless at the intersection of West Wilson Avenue and North Marine Drive. On Saturday, DNAinfo.com Chicago reported the organization would continue to serve the homeless.
"We aren't going to compromise our mission. And we are never going to stop taking care of the folks who need us. That is who we are, and I am very proud to work with the Salvation Army for that reason," Captain Nancy Powers said Saturday.
Cappleman could not be reached for comment Saturday, and his chief of staff, Tressa Feher, declined to comment. But on Sunday, Cappleman described his side of the story, saying he'd been working for months to secure a meeting with the Salvation Army, after the alderman had been reaching out to Uptown's homeless.
"I was concerned that the Mobile Food truck was providing a disincentive to those in need to receive sustained help," Cappleman said.
When the two sides met Friday, Cappleman said Salvation Army representatives stormed out after he said the group could not document the impact of the outreach truck program..
"After years of the mobile food truck taking one approach without being able to document success, I asked if they could explore other options and different approaches to help get people on the streets into shelter," he said. "At this point, they stormed out of my office and said they would take their services where they were wanted. I tried to work with them, but they refused."
On Sunday, Powers, who did not attend the meeting, veered away from conflict on the issue. On the issue of Salvation Army representatives abruptly leaving, "I would say that we see things differently," she told DNAinfo.com Chicago.
But, Powers said, there's no use getting into a he-said she-said tussle.
"I am thrilled that he wants to work together and I look forward to working with him," she said. "I think it is important that we are committed to serving the homeless and the needy in the Uptown area. He is saying that he is willing to work with us - and we are taking him up on that."