Community is at the heart of Care for Real.

Care for Real (CfR), a 501©3 nonprofit organization has been serving the far northside of Chicago for more than 50 years.

Since its founding, Care for Real has been about neighbors helping neighbors and continues to evolve to address the community’s changing needs. Care for Real partners with local businesses, faith communities, schools, elected officials, grocery partners, community groups, and neighbors to collect high-need items, volunteer their time, donate their resources, and serve as ambassadors of Care for Real to address the increased need for food assistance, clothing, referrals, and support. 

Our Impact

Care for Real welcomes nearly 60,000 food pantry visits each year, hosts about 2,000 clothing closet appointments, distributes more than 2 million pounds of food, and helps about 700 pet owners throughout the year. Learn more about our impact by reading our 2020-21 Annual Report and visiting our Impact page.

1970
Founded

Care for Real was established by religious leaders in 1970 including Rev. William Johnson of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement, Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Emanuel Congregation, and other members of the Edgewater Clerical Rabbincal Association. The group now known as the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA), wanted to provide emergency aid to support victims of apartment fires in what was known as “Arson alley” located in the Kenmore-Winthrop corridor between Foster and Devon. Originally intended as a short-term solution to a specific problem, it was soon made clear there was a need in Edgewater for continued care and services. Today, Care for Real continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the community.

2010
Incorporated

Care for Real is incorporated as a stand-alone nonprofit.

2011
Sheridan Road Location

Care for Real moves to the Sheridan Road location.

2011
Pet Pantry

Care for Real and Bark Bark Club launch the monthly Pet Pantry.

2019
Renovations

Care for Real undergoes a campaign to remodel the Sheridan location.

2020
Rogers Park Pantry

Care for Real responds to requests from the community to launch a pop-up pantry in the Rogers Park neighborhood to fill a gap in services amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Care for Real begins offering food distribution on Tuesdays from 12-2pm operating out of the lower level of the United Church of Rogers Park.

2021
Drive-Thru Pantry

Care for Real expands operations in Rogers Park to offer a Drive-Thru Pantry on Thursdays from 4-6pm. With this expansion, Care for Real now distributes food six days a week. Adding evening hours helped Care for Real better serve neighbors with daytime commitments.

2021
Home Delivery Program

When neighbors were unable to visit food distribution in person due to illness, Care for Real launched the Home Delivery pilot program. Starting with just a few households, Care for Real began delivering food twice a month to homebound neighbors.

2021
50 Years of Caring

Care for Real celebrated 50 years of service with a Community Celebration on September 26, 2021. The block party-style celebration welcomed neighbors, volunteers, staff, clients, supporters, elected officials, community leaders, and businesses to participate. More than 600 attendees enjoyed live music from School of Rock, remarks from Alderman Harry Osterman, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, State Senator Mike Simmons, and State Representative Kelly Cassidy, Board Chair Debbie Mellinger, and Executive Director Gregory Gross.

2022
Evening Hours

Care for Real transitioned distribution times in Edgewater from Monday morning to 4-7pm. These changes were in response to client surveys requesting more accessible hours for those with daytime commitments.

History

1970

Care for Real was established by religious leaders in 1970 including Rev. William Johnson of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement, Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Emanuel Congregation, and other members of the Edgewater Clerical Rabbincal Association. The group now known as the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA), wanted to provide emergency aid to support victims of apartment fires in what was known as “Arson alley” located in the Kenmore-Winthrop corridor between Foster and Devon. Originally intended as a short-term solution to a specific problem, it was soon made clear there was a need in Edgewater for continued care and services. Today, Care for Real continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the community.

Meet Our Staff

The Care for Real team is a group of hardworking professionals dedicated to addressing food insecurity in our community.

Learn More

Our Board

Care for Real is led by a group of committed and passionate Board members who reflect the diverse communities we serve.

Board of Directors

The Rev. Jim Nixon, Chair

Jane Clifford, Treasurer

Jennifer Schmidt, Secretary

Don Cortelyou

Blair Harvey

Alton Lynum

William Massey

Kim Mendiola

Julian Morris

Nina Newhouser

Neda Nozari

Claire Rooney

Moronke Tyler

Learn More