Care for Real Story in Video (recorded pre-pandemic)

We are honored to premiere this video produced by Garry Grasinski and Lisa von Drehle as a gift to Care for Real. The video gives an in-depth look at the work we do every day to bring nourishment and hope to our neighbors in need. Though we’re not wearing masks and social distancing in the video (shot pre-pandemic), please be assured that we are taking those precautions now. And though Lyle Allen has moved on, we know he’s still advocating for us as he is in this video. A heartfelt thank you to Garry and Lisa for this generous donation and for telling our story.

GivingTuesdayNow Save the Date

Join us for #GivingTuesdayNow with Care for Real


Care for Real is participating in #GivingTuesdayNow on Tuesday, May 5th. We ask you to join in and donate to our organization. Our need is extraordinary and it is critical that our neighbors and friends come together and support those who suffer from hunger. 

#GivingTuesdayNow is an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. It is an opportunity for people around the world to stand together in unity – to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and to heal physically and mentally.  

“#GivingTuesdayNow recognizes those who so generously give their time and their dollars to support missions like Care for Real. We are honored to be a part of the event as we unite to assist our neighbors in need,” stated Executive Director Lyle Allen.  

Here are some of the ways the Care for Real community can support us on May 5th:

  • Visit our home page on Tuesday, May 5th to see the impact of #GivingTuesdayNow contributions
  • Make a donation to provide meals to your neighbors in need. Donations can be made early starting today towards our meals total for GivingTuesdayNow
  • Share your story of why you support Care for Real on social media
  • Send a video, photo, drawing or written thank you to Care for Real through e-mail to be shared with our volunteers and staff

Thank you for joining us for #GivingTuesdayNow at Care for Real!








05.05.2020 | ADD TO CALENDAR ICS   Google Calendar




Donating Your Stimulus Check to Fight the Coronavirus






Donating Your Stimulus Check to Fight the Coronavirus

As stimulus checks hit bank accounts this week, we see the same question popping up in neighborhood groups, “Where can I donate my $1,2000 stimulus check locally where it will do the most good?”

Generously, those who still have a steady income despite the coronavirus epidemic, and don’t need the stimulus, want to use this “found money” to help others. At the same time, they want to be sure the funds go to an organization that will use the money wisely to provide the basic needs of those who impacted by the coronavirus

For 49 years, Care for Real has been providing food, clothing and support services to people on the north side of Chicago.

For every $1 donated, 97¢ goes directly to support the food pantry and other services. That $1 will provide enough food to a person to make 4 meals. A $5 dollar donation will feed a person for a week. And the $1200 stimulus check? It will feed a family of four for a full year.

Care for Real operates a huge food pantry program that provides nearly 1.2 million pounds annually to neighbors from all over Chicago, including Andersonville, Edgewater, Rogers Park, and Uptown. The number of people coming to Care for Real for the first time has doubled since the pandemic hit and layoffs began. We have been able to meet this demand thanks to the generous donations from the community. Even a small gift from a stimulus check can make an incredible impact on our ability to continue to help our neighbors.

 Take a look at all the ways Care for Real helps our neighbors in need through challenging times:

The best way to support Coronavirus relief in Edgewater and Andersonville is by giving directly to those organizations providing support like Care for Real. To donate directly to hunger relief on the north side of Chicago, please click here.    

“Everything Will Be OK” Project

“Everything Will Be OK” Project








We are so excited to partner with The Lytle House and Pizzeria Aroma on the “Everything Will Be Ok” project.

The Lytle House Art Initiative is launching Phase II of their “Everything Will Be OK” project to complement their large scale art installation near Broadway and Catalpa.

“Everything Will Be OK” yard signs purchased directly from Pizzeria Aroma for pickup or delivery will have 100% of the proceeds go to Care For Real. The signs are for sale for $20.

Order some pizza for the family, pop the sign in your yard or window, and please help us in spreading this message of hope while raising money for our neighbors who are in need.

The easiest way to order from Pizzeria Aroma is via phone at (773) 769-4900.

The Palatable Pantry: Keeping Your Produce Fresh

The Palatable Pantry: Keeping Produce Fresh
By Sydney Karp Poll, a local holistic health coach, chef and friend of Care for Real

Since produce bins and tables might be a bit bare, there are several substitutions you can make. If you can’t find your regular kale or spinach, go for something different yet similar. Look for a swiss chard, or dandelion greens; these are great for wilting in a pan.

If you normally eat broccoli and there isn’t any available, swap it out for cauliflower or a broccoli rabe. Cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy, kale, broccoli and cabbage, have loads of minerals like vitamin K and folate, significant amounts of fiber and can reduce inflammation.

Cabbage of any color is a hearty vegetable that will last at least a week. It is filled with Vitamin C and can improve digestion. For a novel preparation, try slicing it thin for a slaw or roasting it in the oven. Fennel is another exceptional vegetable that can aid digestion. It is tasty roasted or added to a soup. Try saving the fronds to use in a salad.  In fact, you can roast just about any vegetable. Roasting carrots, for example, bring out their natural sweetness, and you don’t need to add anything more than salt or pepper.

There are several easy ways to extend the shelf life of your produce:

  • For herbs like cilantro and parsley, trim the bottom and place in a cup of water in the refrigerator. Asparagus keeps better this way too.
  • The crisper drawer in your refrigerator is actually your best friend! Don’t pack the drawers too tightly, keep them at most 2/3 full.
  • Veggies like carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and celery can be kept in a net bag or a vegetable bag that you get at the grocery store.
  • Mushrooms are best stored in a paper bag.
  • If you want your avocados to ripen FASTER, you can put them in a paper bag with a banana or even an apple. If you want them to stop ripening, place them in the refrigerator.
  • Store vegetables and fruit in separate parts of the fridge or separate crisper bins. This will keep the fruit from ripening too quickly.
  • Tomatoes taste best at room temperature, and they ripen better that way. But if they start to become too soft, store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before eating.

CARES Act Increases Deductions for Charitable Contributions

CARES Act Increases Deductions for Charitable Contributions

To encourage more charitable giving during this challenging time, the recently enacted government stimulus bill (the “CARES Act”) provides some additional tax relief for donors. This makes it easier to give and save at the same time. 

  • Expanded charitable giving incentive – The CARES Act creates a new partial above-the-line deduction for cash contributions up to $300 to certain charitable organizations for taxpayers that elect not to itemize deductions.

  • The 60 percent Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limits do not apply to individuals for contributions made in cash during 2020.

  • The limit for contributions from corporations increase from 10 percent of taxable income to 25 percent. These changes would not apply to contributions to a supporting organization or a Donor Advised Fund.  

March 27th COVID-19 Update

Dear Friends,
Our heartfelt thanks for your support of Care for Real over the last two weeks. We are in awe of your generosity. Your contributions are critical for those who are food insecure and rely upon Care for Real for their daily nutrition.
Care for Real is committed to staying open with normal food distribution hours throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. Our extraordinary staff and volunteer force are working incredibly hard making certain our hungry neighbors have food during this difficult time. Like you, we are resolute and reliable.
Elizabeth, a Care for Real food pantry client, was interviewed by ABC 7 this past Saturday and shared a feeling echoed by many of our clients, “Cuts in income, cuts in hours, cuts in resources…this place is dependable.” This is who we help. This is who we are.
Care for Real’s needs continue to surge as the economic impact of COVID-19 escalates. Last week our primary concern was having sufficient cleaning and disinfecting supplies, bags and food for our usual number of pantry visitors. This week our challenge is helping the ever-increasing numbers turning to us. In the last ten days, we have registered more clients than we typically do in one month. This far exceeds our expectations.
Who is coming to our door? They are restaurant servers and salesclerks, hairdressers and yoga teachers, day care workers and consultants whose contracts have been pulled. They are our neighbors who are without income to purchase groceries and are facing food insecurity for the first time. They are the ‘new hungry’. 
We are preparing for a worst-case scenario (such as a staff member on our small team contracting the virus) to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly. We also retained a professional company to clean and sanitize the pantry throughout the week, and there is no end to the janitorial and disinfection supplies needed. Food? There is simply not enough fresh produce and healthy food options to give to everyone. This is compounded by that fact that we are not currently able to accept in-kind donations from the community.
Care for Real is rising to the challenge, and we hope you will join us to meet the increasing need in our very own community. 

The Palatable Pantry

The Palatable Pantry: Nutrition Tips and Pantry Staple Recipes
By Sydney Karp Poll, a local holistic health coach, chef and friend of Care for Real

Welcome to a strange and solitary new way of life. Our grocery store shelves and produce aisles might look a bit barren, so it is critical to stock up on nutrient-dense and healthful foods the best we can.
If you have not already done so, I recommend making lentils, canned beans, chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice and pasta your staples. Chickpea, bean or quinoa-based pastas may be more readily available (most people are unfamiliar with them); they are cheap, healthy and high in protein. 
Some favorite protein and nutrient-dense foods to keep stocked in your pantry include:  
  • Bone Broth – Bone broth is higher in protein and collagen than regular broth or stock. It is a great addition to homemade soups or sauces and can sipped on its own.
  • Beans – Canned beans and packaged lentils are high in fiber, good source of protein and ready to use in soups, chili, salads or served as an accompaniment to your meal. A white bean dip is simple to make and a tasty alternative to hummus and can be used as a snack, as a sandwich spread or even as a dressing for salad!
  • Whole Wheat and Mock (i.e. lentil, chickpea)
  • Pastas – Use these instead of a white flour pasta for extra protein and nutrients. Read the ingredient labels to make sure they don’t include any artificial additives.
  • Grains (e.g. teff, oats, quinoa, farro, rice) –Whole grains are, for the most part, interchangeable in recipes. Cook them with bone broth for added protein and flavor.
Feel free to reach out to me with any pantry questions, recipe ideas or nutrition facts via e-mail. Please also check out my Instagram account @Syd.Play.Eat for more easy, healthy recipes.

White Bean Dip

· 1 15 ounce can of cannellini beans
· 2 tbs water
· 1 tbs lemon juice
· 1 tbs olive oil
· 2 garlic cloves
· salt and pepper to taste
· additional olive oil for serving


1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor until smooth
2. Season to taste with salt and pepper as you go
3. Place in a bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil
Use as a dip, sandwich spread or thin with balsamic vinegar for a unique salad dressing.

Sydney will be contributing more recipes and tips in the future.  We hope you enjoy this recipe and check back for more soon!

Coronavirus Response Fund

Coronavirus Response Fund

Thank you to Block Club Chicago for sharing about the Coronavirus Response Fund started by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and the 48th Ward Office. The funds will help residents of Edgewater, Andersonville and Uptown deal with the coronavirus outbreak. We are so grateful for our community stepping up and supporting Care for Real and our neighbors in need.