Where to get a free meal in Austin

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There are dozens of places where children and families in need of  nutritious food can eat this summer. Check out some of the local programs, pantries, soup kitchens and mobile produce marts on the West Side.

Children and young adults can eat a free meal at the Austin YMCA’s Kid’s Café, a program managed by the Chicago Food Depository. The YMCA, located at 501 N. Central Ave., is open for one free meal Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository provides free lunch to children 18 and younger through its Lunch Bus, which serves every Monday through Friday until Aug. 31.  Here are the area bus stops:

  • Austin Community Total Intervention Network (Another Chance Assembly church), 5138 W. Division St., 11:45 a.m. to 12:05 p.m.

Mobile markets/pantries

People of all ages can access food at other mobile pantries that make stops on the West Side:

  • Our Lady of the Angels, 
824 N Hamlin Ave. (Hamlin and Chicago avenues), 
(773) 486-8431
. Contact: Father Bob.
 Hours of operation: Every 1st Saturday from 9  to 11 a.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County.
  • Hope Organization/Mandell UMC, 
5000 W. Congress Pkwy., 
(773) 626-6256.
 Contact: Vivian Matthew. 
Hours of operation: Every 3rd Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County.
  • Check out where the Fresh Moves mobile produce market will be four days a week in Austin and North Lawndale throughout the summer. Fresh Moves has fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce is not free, but Fresh Moves accepts cash, credit and LINK cards.  Here’s the schedule:

Tuesdays: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., Chicago Farmers Market at Columbus Park, Harrison Street and Central Avenue

Wednesdays: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Lawndale Christian Health Center, 3860 W. Ogden Ave.

12:30 to 2 p.m., Sinai Hospital, 2653 W. Ogden Ave.

2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Les Finch Learning Center, 4217 W. 16th St.

4 to 5 p.m., Homan Square Community Center, 3517 W. Arthington St.

Thursdays: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Herbert Spencer Technology Academy, 214 N. Lavergne Ave.

1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Phalanx Family Services, 4628 W. Washington Blvd.

3 to 5 p.m., Bethel New Life, Division Street and Lavergne Avenue

Fridays: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Inspiration Kitchen Garfield Park, 3504 W. Lake St.

12 to 1 p.m., Floating, Call 773-236-1531

1 to 2 p.m., Brunson Elementary School, 932 N. Central Ave.

2 to 4:30 p.m., Senior Suites, 335 N. Menard Ave.

Food pantries

  • Hope Community Church, 5900 W. Iowa St., has a food pantry, sponsored by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, for those living in the zip codes 60651 and 60644; they can get a free bundle of food Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. The free pantry is also open Wednesdays from 12 to 2 p.m. One visit per resident per month. A mobile food truck also comes to the church every 2nd Thursday of the month from 4 to 6:30 p.m. to deliver free food. There is no zip code restriction for the food truck. Arriving early to wait in line is encouraged as it’s first come first served
  • Friends Of Columbus Park, 5701 W. Jackson Blvd. (Field House),  
(773) 521-1682. 
Contact: Marjorie Cobbs. 
Hours of 0peration: Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County.
  • Fraternite Notre Dame, 
502 N. Central Ave.,  
(773) 261-0101. 
Contact: Marie Virginia. 
Hours of 0peration: Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County

  • Circle Urban Ministries, 
118 N. Central Ave., 
(815) 973-6918. 
Contact: Mica Battle. 
Hours of operation: Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Emergency: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 11 a.m. 
Boundaries: Chicago (north) Chicago, Harrison (south), Laramie (east) and Austin (west); Austin Neighborhood.
  • St. Martin de Porres. 
5112 W. Washington Blvd.,  
(773) 287-0206. 
Contact: Leon Williams. 
Hours of operation: Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Boundaries: Lake (north), Jackson (south), Cicero (east) and Central (west).
  • Amazing Grace Resources Christ Lutheran Church, 
1511 N. Long Ave., 
(773) 699-9091. 
Contact: Tommy Abina. 
Hours of operation: Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County.
  • Healing Temple COGIC No. 1 Pantry, 
4941 W. Chicago Ave., 
(773) 626-9454.
 Contact: Elizabeth Lockhart. 
Hours of operation: Fridays from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County

  • Pine Avenue United Church, 
1015 N. Pine Ave., (773) 287-4779. 
Contact: Maxine McGhee. 
Hours of operation: Tuesdays from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
 Boundaries: Chicago (north), Division (south), Austin (east) and Laramie (west).
  • Mission of Christ Lutheran Church, 
1345 N. Karlov Ave.
(773) 252-6254.
 Contact: Gwen Washington. 
Hours of operation: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Boundaries: North (north),  Chicago (south), Pulaski (east) and Cicero (west).
  • Our Lady of the Angels, 
824 N. Hamlin Ave., 
(773) 235-3132. 
Contact: Angela Schreiner. 
Hours of operation: Tuesdays from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. 
Boundaries: North Avenue, Lake Street, Kedzie Avenue and Cicero Ave
  • First New Life Baptist Church, 
900 N. Waller Ave., 
(773) 261-1337. 
Contact: Debra Taylor. 
Hours of operation: Fridays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
Boundaries: Zip codes 60644 and 60651

Soup kitchens

  • Westside Health Authority, 
5816 W. Division St., 
(773) 786-0226. 
Contact: Charles Perry. 
Hours of operation: Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County.
  • Fraternite Notre Dame, 
502 N. Central Ave., (773) 261-0101. 
Contact: Marie Virginia. 
Hours of operation: Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
Boundaries: Cook County.

*Photo from Fresh Moves


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