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The StreetWise Cafe

Wed, Jul 13, 2011

Jim LoBianco

In August 2010 StreetWise partnered with the Salvation Army and the Greater Chicago Food Depository to launch a meals program. At its beginning the program was only supposed to provide StreetWise clients morning coffee and hot soup or stew in the afternoon. The operation and scope of the program has grown significantly. As of July 1st, the StreetWise Café, (as it has come to be known), has served over hot 9,000 meals.

In addition to our original partners, StreetWise was able to establish relationships with Panera Bakery and a major grocery store chain. As a result, besides the hot soup that was the primary item on the original menu, the StreetWise Café now offers a selection of meals, including:
• Fresh bread and sweet rolls to go with the morning coffee
• A hot soup or stew
• A freshly prepared meat dish, (e.g., pork chops, ham, chicken breast or legs, and/or assorted sausages).
• A side dish that includes a vegetable and a freshly prepared rice recipe.
• Freshly prepared deli sandwiches are also available for those who either do not want a hot meal or would like to take some sandwiches for the road.

Although the StreetWise Café is a very nice service for our clients, it is far from a luxury. I and the StreetWise staff consistently hear from the clients how important the café is to their ability to keep on budget. Many of the men and women who come to StreetWise for services have made the café their regular place for the main meal of their day.

The benefit of eating at StreetWise is two fold: 1) they are guaranteed access to a nutritious and balanced meal; and 2) they save money. The money our clients save by eating at the StreetWise Café helps them afford the other essentials in their lives. The café helps our clients avoid the no win scenario of choosing between food or medication; food or rent; food or warm clothing.

At a time when more and more Americans are finding that every penny counts StreetWise is proud to provide a service that not only helps our clients maintain their fiscal health but encourages their physical health as well.

StreetWise appreciates our café partners: The Salvation Army, The Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Panera Breads. Without them we would not be able to provide the quality service that we currently do. In addition, StreetWise also accepts donations of canned goods and dry goods. If you would like to donate items to StreetWise or organize a food drive for the agency please contact me. All donations are greatly appreciated.

Jim LoBianco
StreetWise Executive Director
jlobianco@streetwise.org
773-334-6600 (ext. 18)

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