Chicago/ Family & Kids
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Published on January 24, 2024
Chicago Enhances Welcome for Newcomers with Cultural Meals, Selects Local Providers for Shelter ServicesSource: City of Chicago

The Windy City’s approach to welcoming newcomers just got a fresh makeover with two local gems stepping up to the plate. In a statement obtained by the City of Chicago's newsroom, Seventy-Seven Communities and 14 Parish have been selected to fill the bellies of new arrivals with more than just food, but with a taste of home. The Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) wrapped up a thorough RFP process, aiming to serve culturally relevant meals that don't break the bank. The goal was crystal clear: improve food quality while cutting down costs from an eye-watering $21-$23 to a more wallet-friendly $15-$17 per person per day.

Seventy-Seven Communities, a long-time player in the meal delivery game, will now proudly serve the residents of the North Region shelters, while 14 Parish brings its culinary expertise to the South Region. "We are humbled to be chosen for this opportunity and excited to get to work feeding people nutritious meals and providing quality service," Mike Iovinelli, Director of Seventy-Seven Communities, told the City of Chicago newsroom. Their partnership extends beyond the kitchen, involving local restaurants to whip up food that mirrors the diverse backgrounds of the shelter residents.

On the South Side, 14 Parish – known for its roots in the local community – is set to continue its previous successful stints with the new arrival shelters. Racquel Fields, CEO of the eaterie, told the City of Chicago newsroom, "As a local restauranteur, I've always believed that good food has the power to build bridges. Teaming up with the City of Chicago to feed and welcome newcomers aligns perfectly with this philosophy."

The City runs 28 shelters that currently house over 14,000 New Arrivals, teaming up with the County and the State to provide not just a hot meal, but medical care and support services. According to Deputy Mayor for Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Rights Beatriz Ponce de León's statement from the City of Chicago, through these collaborations and community efforts, they're able to "ensure our new neighbors have access to meals as they undergo the process to reach self-sufficiency in their new home."

The City's extending thanks to the heavyweight champions Greater Chicago Food Depository and Open Kitchens for their early backing. Chicago's welcoming arms are wide open online, providing updates and insights on the New Arrivals Mission at Chicago: The Welcoming City.