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A Beacon of Hope in Rogers Park

Food pantry director, Silvina, helping to provide food for those in the community.

Silvina Mammani assists pantry guest Daniel Szetela.

Rogers Park is one of Chicago’s most ethnically and culturally diverse neighborhoods. For decades, it’s been home to the Howard and Evanston Community Center (HECC).

Founded in 1967 as a food pantry, and in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to meet the needs of newly arrived immigrants, HECC has been a lifeline for countless people arriving in Rogers Park and Evanston.

Committed to strengthening families and individuals in the community, HECC offers assistance with everything from food and clothing to English classes. The people they serve come from 44 different countries and speak 41 languages. The weekly food pantry, stocked through your support of the Food Depository, is such an important resource for all who visit.

Silvina Mammani, director of the food pantry, appreciates the diverse needs of the community they serve and is grateful to the Food Depository for their intentionality in meeting the needs of their guests.

"Everybody knows me here," she says of the food pantry. "This is my home."


“The Food Depository lets us request food, which is great because we get to ask our clients what they like to eat, and we request those foods for them,” she says. “People from different cultures have different dietary needs, so it is very helpful for them.

“People are here because they are looking for a better way to live—better opportunities for their families,” Silvina says. “Oftentimes, people tell me that if they didn’t have this food, they wouldn’t be able to afford their medication. Food pantries are a necessity.”

The HECC continues to serve as a beacon of hope for newcomers, offering them not just food but a sense of belonging. “Working here, you have the opportunity to meet new faces every day,” says Silvina. “If you see people entering with a frown on their face and leaving with a smile, that’s the greatest feeling. That’s what has kept me here for 29 years.”

Thank you for connecting neighbors facing hunger with healthy foods through your support of the Food Depository!