Care Kitchen Chicago Food Relief Care Packages

Our Governor had just ordered all bars and restaurants closed to the public, and I had already been out of work for a few days. I was sitting at home, alone, over-consuming media, worried about the escalating situation with COVID-19, and eager to find a way to help which surprisingly helped me cope while I was focused on this idea.

I work in the service industry-In addition to bartending at the best venue in the city, The Hideout, I have my managers sanitation certification, I do private chef work,  and I feel compelled to feed people.  There are people in my life, neighborhood, and industry that are not food secure, or are self-quarantined and can’t afford delivery from grocery stores or restaurants, or are at-risk and should not leave their home. These are the people I want to support.

While my place of employment is closed for the foreseeable future, I have plenty of time on my hands, a donated commercial kitchen space to use for food prep, but no income with which to purchase ingredients, so I posted on Facebook asking if people would help fund a care-package project and the donations started coming in from friends who knew my Venmo handle. I posted again, making my Venmo handle public, and so far have received $1300 towards the cause. With that, I will be able to provide over 20 people with an extra 3-4 meals a week for the next 3-4 weeks. Meals that I hope will nourish, fuel, and comfort. Further donations will allow me to extend care packages to additional recipients each week, increase the number of meals per person and provide this assistance as needed throughout the duration of this crisis. 

In the interest of transparency, I'd originally posted updates about who has donated and what their donations have helped provide on my social media. By creating a GoFundMe, it’ll allow for a greater reach in terms of sharing and receiving donations, as well as enable me to update all supporters with regular posts on progress.

In addition to monetary support, I will need help with getting groceries and making deliveries. Donations of ingredients, togo containers or gift cards to local grocery stores are also welcome. Please reach out to [email redacted] to arrange an alternative donation or to volunteer.

This is all HEALTH WILLING. If I start to feel sick, feel like I am showing symptoms, or suspect I have been exposed to the virus, I will let you know. At that point if I do not find someone willing and able to carry the torch I will donate the remaining money and the food items to a food pantry.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Follow @carekitchenchicago on Instagram for more updates with pictures and videos!

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Jessica Romanowski
Chicago, IL

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