Woman helping to feed Back of the Yards community for decades


Old St Pat’s Church helps to keep things cooking at Frieda’s Place

CHICAGO – A community fixture in Back of the Wards was celebrated Sunday for her work helping to feed people. 

Recently, a West Loop church also stepped up to help. 

For decades, Frieda Holley has served up food and lots of love. She started when her children were small and they saw the need in the community. 

“I started going to all of the community pantries and getting all the food and told people to come to my back door,” she said. “I would throw everything in a pot and just have a big pot of soup. One day, one man came, next day two … next day 15 people at my back door.” 

Eventually Holley partnered with Su Casa Catholic Worker Community and launched the soup kitchen now named Frieda’s Place. 

More than 30 years later, she’s still at it. Every week the group serves hundreds of meals along with providing resources and free clothing.

But Holley ran into a problem recently when the oven went out. She asked for prayers from Beth Marek, Director of Outreach of Old St. Pat’s Church, which has been supporting Frieda’s Place for decades

More information at

“A month later, here comes the stove being delivered and installed due to Old Saint Pat’s,” Holley said.

Sunday parishioners served brunch to the community and celebrated the donation of the commercial oven and Holley’s tireless work.

“She is the rock of the neighborhood. She is Saint Frieda of the South Side,” Marek said.

“When people do things like this for you, you don’t feel like you don’t deserve it because you’re just one person in a community helping your people,” she said. “I don’t see this as being anything big. It’s just me helping my friends, the guests, the people that come to the soup kitchen. It’s not like I’m a saint or anything it’s just helping my people. That’s all.” 

Frieda’s Place also houses a shelter for men experiencing homelessness. She can always use donations of hygiene items, furniture and men’s clothing. More information on their website.

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