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Hunger Beat

52 Stories, 52 Weeks: Supporting multiple generations

Lillian White receives groceries from St. Cyprian's Food Pantry.
Lillian White paused before pushing her cart full of groceries out the door of St. Cyprian’s Food Pantry on the northwest side of Chicago. It was raining heavily, and she hoped it would slow down enough for her to load her car.

She carried a whole chicken, ground beef, fresh fruit, canned goods, cereal, and other assorted items from the food pantry.

“This helps me feed everyone,” she said. “Sometimes, you just don’t have any money for food. That’s basically where we are.”

Lillian, 68, lives with her son, daughter-in-law, and their two children. While the parents do work, bills have overburdened the family, and they are now on the verge of losing their home.  There is little money left over to buy food.

“I try to make the best of everything I get at the pantry,” she said. “We stretch it over the course of a month and it really helps.”

St. Cyprian’s serves more than 600 families per month – many with at least one person who has a job.

“The economy is so bad right now, you just can’t do anything,” Lillian said. “We have to eat. We wouldn’t be able to afford food if it weren’t for the pantry.”

As the rain calms, Lillian pushes her cart out to her car, sloshing through the parking lot.

“So many people think that if you’re coming to a food pantry, you’re poor. You’re homeless. But that’s not the case. Nowadays it’s because you just can’t make ends meet, and that’s us.”

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