250 boxes of food given to Garfield Park residents left in dust by Aldi’s brutal exit – CBS Chicago


CHICAGO (CBS) – In the West Garfield Park neighborhood, a grocery store moves and hope sets in, in the form of an emergency food gift.

CBS 2’s Marissa Parra shows us what was done today and what defenders are pushing for tomorrow.

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It’s been almost a month since the boards were lifted and the doors last closed at Garfield Park Aldi, apparently without warning

Volunteers spent Saturday stepping in and stepping up; donate food just a few feet from where the groceries were sold.

“This Aldi has been here for as long as I’ve been here, and to watch him disappear is definitely devastating, especially for the community,” said Leoshay Dobbs, who works in community engagement at Rush University Medical Center.

The Aldi grocery store that served West Garfield Park for three decades suddenly closed its doors almost a month ago.

“I wish the Lord would restore it,” said Earlene Boyle, who lives across the street.

Boyle is now heading to the nearest grocery store, nearly a mile away, which isn’t exactly an easy trip at his age.

“I’m 81 years old so it takes a long time for me,” she said.

A spokesperson for Aldi cited a “drop in sales”, adding that the now-closed store had been operating “at a loss for several years”.

“Almost a month ago, we made the difficult decision to permanently close our store at 3835 W. Madison. We take the closure of this place very seriously. Our decision was based on several factors, including the steady decline in sales and the fact that we have been operating this location at a loss for several years. The poor sales performance and increased spending simply made it unsustainable to keep the store open, ”the company said in a statement. “We are proud to serve the residents of the West Garfield Park neighborhood for the past 30 years and we thank our customers for their loyalty. We look forward to continuing to serve them at one of our many nearby stores, including a store at 800 N. Kedzie, which is just over a mile from the old location on W. Madison.

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Not everyone buys Aldi’s explanation.

“Who’s to blame? Well, first of all, it’s Aldi themselves,” said Dr. David Ansell, senior vice president of community health equity at Rush University Medical Center. is an act of violence, as people have been put at risk by Aldi’s departure and access to fresh food and vegetables removed from the community.

Ansell is part of the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative (GPRWC) team that organized the emergency food distribution on Saturday.

“Life expectancy in this neighborhood is the lowest on the West Side of Chicago; many causes, but the first is cardiovascular disease, for which food is medicine, ”Ansell said. “You have four senior citizens’ buildings within walking distance here, half of the people in this neighborhood don’t have a car.”

Volunteers handed out 250 boxes of food to enthusiastic residents of West Garfield Park, some of whom lined up hours in advance.

“I have carrots, I have good veg, I love veg,” said Warren Gardner, who lives across the street, rummaging through his bags. “A big ole chicken!” It’s even better. “

As families loaded wagons, defenders waited impatiently.

“We’re going to be here for the next six weeks, but after the six weeks what’s next? How are people going to access healthy food outside of gas stations or convenience stores? Dobbs said, gesturing to the corner store across the street, with a sign reading “Madison Supermarket” next to pictures advertising sodas and crisps. “You can’t make a meal out of it. “

GPRWC said it has been in contact with Ald. Jason Ervin (28e), pushing to bring a new affordable grocery store to Aldi’s place.

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The Garfield Park Rite To Wellness Collaborative has planned a series of food giveaways over the next few weeks at the former Aldi store. They provide food gifts on four additional Saturdays: November 13, December 4, December 11 and December 18. A special pre-Thanksgiving gift was already planned for Friday, November 19 at the New Mount Pilgrim Baptist Missionary Church, which will take care of the families’ food for two weeks, since there will be none on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

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