Chicago food pantry continues march against hunger
|Corwin Marbly, Sr. supervises the setup of the St. Matthew Child Advocate food pantry.
Standing tall and smiling at 90 years old, Corwin Marbly has seen a lot of change in his lifetime. However, there is one thing that Corwin has not seen change in his many years: the need for food assistance in his community.
A longtime resident of Chicago’s Near North Side, Corwin has been active in the fight against hunger for more than 30 years, coordinating the St. Matthew Child Advocate food pantry and participating in every Hunger Walk since the event first began in 1986.
The Hunger Walk is an annual 5K along the lakefront that benefits local food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. The funds agencies raise at the Hunger Walk help them operate throughout the year. Corwin and the St. Matthew Child Advocate food pantry rely on their fundraising efforts from the Hunger Walk to serve a changing need in the community.
“Hunger Walk was a lifesaver. The money we raised helped us get through the year,” Corwin recalled about his food pantry’s annual attendance at the event.
Corwin helped to establish the food pantry in 1973, and he continues to run the program every week after more than 40 years.
“Within six months [of opening], we had people coming in like crazy,” Corwin recalled while supervising the food pantry setup early one Tuesday morning.
Despite the drastic change throughout the Near North Side in recent years, the St. Matthew Child Advocate food pantry continues to serve a high level of need in the community today, serving approximately 215 families per month. The food insecurity rate in the neighborhood is nearly 15 percent, which means that 15 percent of residents do not know when or from where their next meal will come.
“This church here is a symbol to the people in need,” Corwin said when asked how the food pantry continues to provide a vital service to local residents each week.
Even in retirement, Corwin remains passionate and determined to end hunger in his community. This motivation is why he and a team of volunteers from St. Matthew Child Advocate still participate in Hunger Walk every year and continue to operate their food pantry every Tuesday morning.