Black Lives Matter Chicago tackles hunger with self-serve food depository in Bronzeville

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Local activists have a new approach to tackling hunger with a self-serve food depository in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.

In September, Black Lives Matter Chicago transformed an old newspaper box into a place anyone could pick up food – as much as they needed.

At first, the group’s members filled the box in the Bronzeville community garden every four days or so. But demand quickly grew.

“It’s really been difficult to keep it stocked for one day now,” Shelly Quiles said.

Black Lives Matter Chicago members, like Quiles, spend their own money to regularly refill the box with canned goods, snacks, and now, warm clothing for winter.

Activists chose Bronzeville because they’ve already worked with this community. But Black Lives Matter also wants to support an area with limited local food resources – what Quiles called a “food desert.”

“We want to build community,” she said. “We want people to feel connected to one another and feel that their needs are being met.”

According to, more than 600,000 Cook County residents were food insecure in 2015.

Quiles said the food depository also helps those who could have bought food, but instead can focus on other family needs now.

Black Lives Matter Chicago hopes this box is the first of many, helping those in need across the city.