The Irving Park Community Food Pantry as it is known today is primarily an interdenominational family of churches working closely with civic groups, schools, scouts, area aldermen, and concerned individuals in the neighborhood. Together we are effectively helping over 600 households, representing more than1600 individuals in need of emergency food each month of the year.
The Irving Park Community Food Pantry began as a response in the neighborhood to frequent requests for food. In the early 1970s Leila Duncan, a member of Irving Park United Methodist Church, purchased and delivered groceries personally to individuals and families in the area. By the 1980s several people helped her in these efforts. In 1983 the church began providing USDA cheese and butter to community residents who could give proof of need. Sensitive insight on the part of Rev. Philip Sheets, the pastor, led to the formation of the Pantry as a community effort. We are proud of our history.
This action addressed the shared need of other denominations’ congregations. The request for food to all of the pastors in the area was becoming an increasing concern. Neighborhood clergy pooled the modest food resources each was attempting to maintain and sent people to the Pantry now located in Irving Park United Methodist Church, 3801 N. Keeler Avenue. The coalition of churches formalized its work together in early 1984. The Irving Park Community Food Pantry was formally incorporated as an Illinois not-for-profit in 1987.
The Pantry is a member in good standing in the pantry network of the Chicago Anti-Hunger Federation and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In addition, the pantry is a member of the North Side Anti-Hunger Network and enjoys a deserved reputation for fairness, quality and caring service in the social service community.