Community market puts fresh spin on food bank
CHICAGO —We could all use an extra helping of kindness. Along 75th Street and Langley Avenue in Chicago, that’s what is served up every Thursday afternoon.
“Sharing your strength instead of your weakness, that’s what kindness is,” Christopher Watts said.
Watts is the founder of the 75th Street Fresh Food Market.
“We are out here rain or shine, sleet or snow to feed and nourish anyone who needs it,” he said.
Working with area grocery stores and private vendors, Watts and his team of volunteers line the tables with over 40,000 pounds of donated fresh fruits, vegetables and sides.
The market draws a crowd with dozens lining up hours before it even opens.
“It is such a treat because they offer things we can’t get in our neighborhood,” patron Leticia Brown said. “It’s not just produce but all kinds of sauces, spices and cheeses that make a meal feel special.”
Brown hasn’t missed the Thursday free market in over a year.
“We are doing this to create health equity,” Watts said.
On a recent Thursday, nearly 50 minutes in, the market has already passed out nine pallets of food.
“The hunger thing is real,” Michael Mazon said. “People know about this market because you don’t come here and get judged. They don’t care what neighborhood you’re from, or whether you got a job. They just want to make sure everyone is fed.”
The only question you’ll get here is: “Do you want a box or a bag for your groceries?”
Watts said it’s about leveling up what everyone deserves to be able to put on their dinner table.
“When you do good work and just keep focusing on doing right by people, it just grows,” he said. “Most of the time we hear a simple, ‘Thank you. Thank you for being here for us.’ That’s all we need.”
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