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Hunger Beat

52 Stories, 52 Weeks: 'I used to help people, now I need the help'

Anthony Robinson visits St. Sylvester food pantry in Logan Square to get the food he needs when his SNAP benefits run out.
Anthony Robinson knows two sides of hunger.

Formerly a full-time social services case aide for drug and alcohol abuse clients, he connected people with the services and food assistance they needed. Anthony was a lifeline for those with nowhere else to turn.

In August, Anthony lost his job. Now, he needs a lifeline.

“I used to help people every single day,” he said. “Now I need the help.”

He applied for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and receives $189 every month. While SNAP is a big help, Anthony still has trouble affording all the food he needs.

“At the end of the day, SNAP just really isn’t enough to live on,” he said.

Anthony found his lifeline in the form of the St. Sylvester Catholic Church food pantry in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. On a recent Wednesday, Anthony received a bag of food at the pantry, including fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen meat, and nonperishable items.

“This will last me a couple weeks,” he said. “Which is great, because right now I don’t have enough money to go to the supermarket.”

Anthony isn’t trying to use the pantry often, only when he absolutely needs it. In the meantime, he’s searching for a job, and he’s been in this position before.

“Twenty years ago, I was homeless for a while. I lost my job and got a divorce around the same time, and I was out on the street,” he said. “But, I turned it all around. I got into social service, and I’ll turn it around this time too.”

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