Care For Real
Care for Real was established in 1970 by Rev. William Johnson of the Epsicopal Church of the Atonement, Rabbi Herman Schaalman of Emanuel Congregation and other members of the Edgewater Clerical Rabbinical Association. This organization, which is now known as the Edgewater Community Religious Association (ECRA), wanted to provide emergency help to victims of fires in “Arson Alley,” the Kenmore-Winthrop corridor between Foster and Devon. It was intended to be a short-term solution to a specific problem. However, it soon became clear that there was a need in Edgewater for an ongoing safety net for neighbors in need. Today Care for Real is the safety net for the entire Edgewater community.
Today, on average, CFR distributes almost 60,000 pounds of food each month. The nonprofit purchases most of their staple foods from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Local retailers, including Costco, 7-11, Aldi’s, Swedish Bakery, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, True Nature Foods and Panera Cares regularly donate produce and bakery goods. And the community supports Care for Real with individual donations and food drives sponsored by houses of worship, schools, businesses, block clubs and residential buildings.
Purchased food is selected for variety, nutrition and with respect for religious beliefs and ethnic preferences. For the homeless, CFR distributes specially packaged foods that do not require refrigerated storage, can openers or cooking. In addition, Care for Real provides special food baskets for Thanksgiving, Eid al-Fitr and Christmas to make those holidays brighter for our neighbors.
Care for Real runs a clothes closet that distributes “gently used” donated clothing free of charge to clients. A special effort is made to have warm coats, hats, scarves and gloves available for needy neighborhood school children. Last year, approximately 300 children received the clothes they needed to make it through the winter. These children also received backpacks and school supplies at the start of the academic year.
CFR also provides children’s diapers and cleaning and personal-hygiene products as well as home health care items (canes, adult incontinence items, skin care, etc.) when they are available. For more information please visit Care For Real’s web site.