On the first day of summer, the intersection of Church Street and Dodge Avenue was one of the busiest places in town, and C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, on the northwest corner, was the center of activity.
Tables for a Juneteenth pop-up shop stretched north along Dodge Avenue, where people could purchase books from Young Black & Lit and Juneteenth signs and T-shirts from Evanston Present and Future.
C&W Market owners Clarence and Wendy Weaver, along with several volunteers, ferried boxes and bags of food from inside the market onto tables along Church Street. Packed the night before, the boxes and bags of food awaited pickup by or delivery to School District 65 families hit by the economic crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Weaver said this is the 11th week the market has been a site for the food giveaway, sponsored by District 65, Evanston Aid and Evanston Community Foundation.
“We serve about 85 District 65 families,” he said, adding the market is also a site for food for senior citizens on Wednesdays.
The lockdown took its toll on the corner store, which has been an anchor of the community since 2014. Mr. Weaver said even though they lost about 85% of their business they did not close up shop.
Morning customers at C&W Market would find fresh coffee and food to get them on their way. Evanston Township High School students would come in for lunch or after-school snacks. Fifth Ward residents make regular visits during the day, and people returning from a day’s work would also stop in. Summer brought in ice-cream lovers of every age.
Evanston is already in Phase 3 and, many believe, in good shape to enter Phase 4 of Governor J. B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan. C&W Market and its ice cream parlor, which features Homer’s Ice Cream, is ready.