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The Amor de Dios food pantry in Little Village, run by Pastor Ramiro Rodriguez, positively connects to community members. It has also been a source of fulfillment and assurance during these unprecedented times he continues that mission.
A couple of months ago, a teenage boy, Adam Toledo, was tragically gunned down by Chicago police very close to the same area. Sadness and confusion over the death of Toledo are still fresh in the hearts and minds of the community. However, the service that Pastor Rodriguez and those who lend a hand at Amor de Dios earnestly prevails, and the father is feeling confident that things will get better soon.
The Little Village food pantry has been a part of the Greater Chicago Food Depository for quite some time — it is a division of a combined group endeavor striving to bring food, virtue, and aspiration to our Cook County residents. They perform as the heart for interconnection of over 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other programs. These projects supply food where there is the greatest need. In addition, they also focus on the main reason for hunger. General well-being advocacy and employment coaching programs lend help to communities to conquer hardship.
Amor de Dios opens its pantry doors every Thursday afternoon to hundreds of community members in need of food. At the beginning of the pandemic, the pantry provided nourishment to almost 300 individuals weekly. It continues to serve this elevated need compared to pre-pandemic.
Rev. Rodriguez started the food pantry at the church in December 2007 and has attended every Sunday service since his initial visit.
For the past 15 years, Pastor Rodriguez has served the Little Village neighborhood. Those who visit the pantry can view photos spotlighting him hanging on the walls. Outside of the volunteer work at the pantry, this generous pastor has several other skills, which include singing, playing a musical instrument, and heading the church band.
Father Rodriguez stated:
Estamos comprometidos a la comunidad, We are committed to the community.
Among the volunteers at the pantry in Little Village is Hermana Petra Baza. This 59-year-old mother of three drafted her family members to lend a hand at the Amor Dios pantry nearly 10 years ago. Now the head volunteer, Baza, is normally at the pantry three days a week, putting in a lot of time to make sure food is ready for distribution. As a committed supporter of food equity, Baza went to Washington D.C. with the Food Depository staff to stand in the gap and campaign for law reform concerning those experiencing hunger.
Baza volunteers because she says,
hay mucha ecesidad. There is a lot of need.
Rev. Rodriguez, Baza, and other volunteers at the Little Village food pantry continue to help the community bounce back from setbacks caused by the pandemic, and this seems to be exactly what the people need.
Written by Sharri Rogers
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Greater Chicago Food Depository: In Litle Village, a pantry reflects the resilience of its neighbors; by Marilyn Vazquez
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Justin Goh’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of seligmanwaite’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License