About three dozen volunteers from Interfaith Action of Evanston gathered in the Levy Center parking lot, 300 Dodge Ave., on Feb. 9 to distribute fresh produce, meat and dairy products to nearly 200 Evanston families.  With temperatures in single digits and the wind chill well below zero, the volunteers unloaded boxes filled with a single fruit or vegetable and repacked the produce in mixed boxes to distribute.

By 9:15, the outdoor operation was almost ready to open for contact-free food and produce pickup.

On the second Tuesday of every month, Interfaith Action receives a truckload of fresh food from the Greater Chicago Food Depository for distribution to families in Evanston. There is no need to register beforehand, but proof of residence in Cook County is required. For everyone’s safety during the pandemic, the entire process takes place outside. Volunteers bundle up and can grab a package of hand or feet warmers as needed. Everyone wears masks and does their best to maintain a safe distance from each other. 

By 10:20 a.m., three stations were reduced to two and volunteers were cleaning and putting tables away.

And by 11 a.m., the volunteer leaders had estimated how many boxes they would need before 11:30 and packed up the remaining food for pickup by a secondary partner, another food pantry that will distribute it to their clients.

Ed. Note: This story was updated on Feb. 15 to correct a factual error. Proof of residence in Cook County is required; a photo ID is not mandated. The RoundTable regrets the error.