Maggie Jordan suffered from a life threatening illness with near-blindness and loss of mobility for more than a year.
Her doctors told her sons, David and Michael, to institutionalize her three different times, she recalled.
But David and Michael didn’t accept that their mom was done living. They took her home and she slowly began to recover. Within a few years, she went from barely seeing and not walking to running the Chicago Hope food pantry in Logan Square, part of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s network in Cook County.
“It truly feels like a new life,” Jordan said. “As I recovered, things looked up, I started taking on more responsibilities until I landed here.”
That was in 2009, and she hasn’t looked back since.
“Running this pantry doesn’t feel like work at all,” said Jordan, 66. “I do work obviously, but I get to help out the community. It’s a dream.”
Chicago Hope operates as its own nonprofit, but is supported by Armitage Baptist Church. The pantry has grown its outreach to include an afterschool program, too.
“We’ve really tried to help out the community around us,” Jordan said. “We don’t want to just help out by being a place where people receive food – we want to be a part of the community.”
To Jordan and her family, the food pantry is personal. Her son, David, began visiting the pantry four years ago after he lost his job.
“It sucks not being able to take care of yourself,” said David, 38.
He felt a responsibility to volunteer at the pantry, too.
“I thought, ‘Well I am able to work, so my mom might as well put me to work here,’” David said.
A year later, David took over the role of volunteer food pantry manager. He trains volunteers, helps run the pantry on a daily basis and assesses inventory needs.
“I know what it is like to be in the clients’ shoes,” David Jordan said. “I am able to grasp what it is like to come and visit a food pantry, but also what food you would want to receive.”
Rosetta Bamhole is one of those clients. At 60, she cares for her 93-year-old mother, and her niece and nephew, while her sisters works. She had double knee replacement surgery, which left her unable to work.
“This place helps me immensely,” Bamhole said. “Not only am I able to get healthy food that my mom, my sister and her family and me need, but I am able to get support from others who are in similar situations.”