MSV Food Pantries: Providing Necessary Services as Inflation Rises

Connecting Communities | April 2022

Marillac St. Vincent’s Food Pantries have been instrumental to the local communities they serve, on the West Side in East Garfield Park and on the North Side in Lincoln Park. At Marillac St. Vincent we recognize the food insecurity that exists in the communities, and in response to this need, we offer a Client Choice food pantry at each location. The Client Choice model empowers adults and families to select the food that best meets their needs.

Inflation rose 7.9% February 2022 compared to February 2021, and is at the highest level since 1982, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Marillac St Vincent Family Services CEO, Peter Beale-DelVecchio, appeared on Chicago Tonight recently to discuss the impact the recent increases in the price of gas and necessities has had on families at MSV and the importance of programs such as the food pantries.

In the month of February alone, Marillac St. Vincent served over 400 families (representing 1000+ individuals) in its food pantries and saw a 16% increase in usage from a year ago. To meet that demand, MSV had to order 6 tons more food than in February 2021.

But the pantries don’t only offer food; they also provide other necessary household items which are in greater demand—and which cost more during this time of rising prices.

“[Our clients are] seeing–whether it’s a can of corn or toiletries, shampoo, etcetera—is so much more expensive. And, they’re trying to buy gas to get back and forth to work. Because that’s so expensive, the areas where they have to cut back are some of the personal items,” said Beale-DelVecchio.

Beale-DelVecchio says Marillac St. Vincent will continue to work with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which has been a major partner in suppling food and goods to the pantries. He shares his gratitude to all the local corporations and countless individuals who provide donations so MSV can support its communities and buy produce and household items.

Even so, the rise in prices continues to have an effect on MSV’s clients by a financial, mental and emotional impact, he said. It is felt as a long term-impact, affecting mostly front line and hourly wage workers whose jobs disappeared or whose hours were significantly reduced the last two years. These families and individuals have worked hard through the pandemic and now inflation is making it more difficult for them to get ahead. He shares that it will take a long time for them to earn back their savings, and MSV will continue to provide its vital services to support the hard-working families and individuals who come to us for support.

Marillac St. Vincent is also extremely grateful to all its staff and volunteers that make these food and wellness pantries possible. Volunteer Manager Colleen Mulcrone shared, “we are always looking to empower our clients to make the best choices for themselves and their family. We listen to our clients’ needs and do our best to provide easy access to those food and household items in our pantries. It is all about developing a strong sense of community where our clients feel welcome, and our volunteers are a huge part of creating that feeling. Reliable individuals like Larry Purnell, who has volunteered at our pantry for over 8 years, provides a welcoming and familiar face to the clients. Little things like that go a long way to establishing respect and trust and providing a safe space where our clients feel like they are going to be cared for.”

Interested to Help The Food Pantries of the Marillac St. Vincent Community?

Learn more about ways to donate, volunteer or work at MSV.