As we head into the holidays, most especially, the reality that many people will not have the opportunity to eat even a good meal always gnaws at me. To have shelter, clothes, and food for sustenance is a blessing I myself don’t ever take for granted and always looking of/for ways to be a blessing to others. It’s always great to hear about altruism from community, even as many face challenging days ahead. I recently came across news about how one of the Evanston Community Fridges locations has rallied some big names in the food community to support efforts to feed community, for free. Evanston Community Fridges is a mutual aid network rooted in collective community care through access to free food. They organize the fridges hosted within the city of Evanston to feed one another, they currently have four in different locations. Taking responsibility for meeting each other’s needs and providing nourishment and cultural affirmation. One of the locations (Soul Fridge) is outside Soul & Smoke restaurant (1601 Payne St, Evanston). Heather and D’Andre, along with volunteers from Evanston Community Fridges, stock the refrigerator and pantry outside Soul & Smoke year-round. The need increases during the winter and the holidays, and to address demand this year, they asked Chef Sarah Stegner of Prairie Grass Cafe & co-founder of Chicago Chefs Cook to help organize additional contributions to the pantry.
“Through dedicated outreach efforts, a group of chefs, many of whom are consistent participants in Chicago Chefs Cook events, have stepped up and joined together again to help stock the fridge. This will provide additional free meals to fill the fridge for anyone in need. The special chef contributions will be offered throughout the holiday season.”
“We wanted to do something special for the holidays for the community. The original idea was, that by connecting with other chefs, we could bring some extra joy to those that rely on our fridge,” said Soul & Smoke’s Heather Bublick via email.
“We are grateful to the chef community for answering the call to action to fill Soul & Smoke’s Community Fridge!” said Stegner. Stegner will be making delicious homemade Turkey Burger, baked local sweet potatoes & Praire Grass Cafe’s signature crunchy slaw, cranberry sauce. Community members that would like to help can also add items to the fridge, pantry, or freezer year-round, or can donate funds to Soul & Smoke’s community fridges program or by adding a community meal to a restaurant order.
Chefs participating by preparing meals include:
Heather Bublick and D’Andre Carter, Soul & Smoke
Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris, Prairie Grass Cafe
Tigist Reda, Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
Arshiya Farheen, Verzênay Chicago
Mary Aregoni, Saigon Sisters
Devon Quinn and Jodi Fyfe, eden, The Paramount Group
Sandra Holl, Floriole
Sam Rattanopas and Mina Sudsaard, Nakorn Kitchen
Darnell Reed, Luella’s Southern Kitchen
Beverly Kim Clark and Johnny Clark, Parachute and Anelya Restaurant
Alex DeSalvo, DeSalvo’s Pizza
Debbie Gold, Le Tour
If you can make the holiday season especially brighter for someone in need, please do consider contributing to the Soul Fridge or the other Community Fridges location. If you can support through monetary donation or donating a meal via Soul & Smoke, please do. You just never know who will be touched by your altruism this season.
pronounced: Boh-la-jee, like the Bellagio but w/o the O. SLC Founder and Editor, loves to write about topics at the intersection of career and lifestyle for today's young professional and future leaders.