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Hunger Beat

52 Stories, 52 Weeks: The spring in his step

Bob "Ziggy" Anderson takes a 10-minute walk to the St. Ignatius Church Food Pantry each time he visits. The items he receives from the pantry as well as the exercise he gets on the way there help keep him healthy.
Bob Anderson, a resident of Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood, goes by the nickname Ziggy. It helps him stand out, he says.  
“There are a million Bobs out there – but not a ton of Ziggys.”
And stand out he does.
At 80 years old, Ziggy is physically fit, his stride almost as quick as his wit. When Kathy Morris, director of Food Depository member agency St. Ignatius Church Food Pantry, asked Ziggy what he likes in his coffee, he replied, “Everything in it except your pointer finger.”
Ziggy and Kathy met 18 months ago through a mutual friend who told a struggling Ziggy about the food pantry. Since then, the pantry director and client have become friends themselves.
A cook by trade, Ziggy left his job at Evanston Hospital in 2006, leaving him with little money to fall back on during the recession. He has attempted to re-enter the workforce, though he admits that the prospects are slim.
Meanwhile, Ziggy receives Social Security benefits as well as $16 per month in SNAP benefits. He also lives with two roommates to save on rent. Still, these sources of income aren’t enough to make ends meet.
“I never thought I’d go to a pantry,” he said.
Ziggy has benefited from St. Ignatius for a year and a half: “longer than I thought I would.”
Still, as a former cook, he’s happy with the food he receives.
“I like what I take,” Ziggy said.
Ziggy usually gets an assortment of fresh produce, canned items, cereal, chicken and eggs. On top of the food, Ziggy enjoys the pantry’s friendly atmosphere.
“The people here are nice,” he said.
The aid Ziggy gets at St. Ignatius helps him maintain the spring in his step in more ways than one.
“It meant some relief,” he said. “My savings, they’re depleted. This food helps me both financially and naturally.”
On top of being a much-needed source of food, each trip to St. Ignatius Church is a pleasant stroll that keeps the 80-year-old’s blood pumping.
“I walk down here with a cart. It’s a 10-minute walk,” he said. “I don’t want anyone helping me carry this.”

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