Lavin Family Foundation Supports Our Families and Local Restaurants

Lavin Family Foundation Supports Our Families and Local Restaurants

In challenging times, we turn to those to whom we are closest – for comfort, friendship, and support. The COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented challenges, and the children and families we serve need us now more than ever.

Though circumstances have changed, our mission remains the same: to bring stability to children and families in Chicago. As we adapt and create new ways to provide food, shelter, and other resources, we are blessed to have generous friends whom we can turn to for support as well.

Our families are facing a multitude of challenges at this time, but above all else is the need for nourishment. To meet this need, our frontline coworkers are delivering food to families who need it the most. Among the first to stand up and support this new effort were our longtime friends at the Lavin Family Foundation. 

“We understand the dire circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the serious strain this has placed on Chicago’s nonprofits,” said Carol Lavin Bernick, president of the Lavin Family Foundation. “We always look to provide support that addresses multi-layered needs.”

It’s an historical time in our country as millions have been impacted by unemployment, including the families we serve. Social distancing has also had an enormous economic impact on those in the restaurant industry. In supporting Mercy Home, Bernick hopes to not only help feed our families, but to support local restaurants as well. 

“My family and I wanted to see nutritious, fun meals provided to Chicago’s most vulnerable populations while also working to help save local restaurants,” Bernick said. 

“Through our #FeedItForward initiative, thousands of children and families will be fed with meals prepared by these independently owned restaurants, many of which provide key gathering places within Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

In addition to restaurants, we are supporting local grocery stores as we purchase food to distribute. But some of the families we serve have an extreme immediate need for food and do not have the ability to cook. Some are experiencing homelessness and do not have access to their own kitchen. Local restaurants provide a tremendous service in helping us get hot meals to these families. 

One member of our AfterCare program said in a note to the Home that, “Having Mercy Home support me and my family through this uncertain time has been a tremendous amount of help. I want to say thank you to all of the wonderful people that are doing the utmost for the Mercy family.”

Among the independently owned restaurants helping us get food to our families is Hangry’s on Chicago’s West Side. Though business has been slower than usual, they are happy to help their community shelter in place by providing meals. And they appreciate everyone who is choosing to support local businesses during this crisis. 

“In these times, it really shows that there’s a lot of good people out there and that everybody’s trying to make a difference and shop locally – which really, really helps us,” said Sergio Villegas, owner of Hangry’s. 

“That is a big help, and it really brings hope to us that there are a lot of good people out there, and that our customers are very thankful that we’re open. We’re very thankful that they’re coming back.”

Delivering food to families is just one component of the Compassionate Care Task Force. Developed in response to this COVID-19 pandemic, Mercy Home’s Compassionate Care Task Force coordinates therapeutic and tangible support to youth who transitioned outside of the Home, and provides support to those who are currently caring for them. Through this initiative, our coworkers in youth programs also continue to provide ongoing, remote care management via phone or videoconferencing. 

The immediate support from the Lavin Family Foundation for our Compassion Care Task Force means the world to us. For more than 20 years, they have been by our side – supporting the vulnerable boys and girls we serve. It is truly a blessing to be able to count on their friendship during this time of uncertainty. “The Lavin Family Foundation feels fortunate to be able to help in this way,” Bernick said. “It’s our greatest hope others are inspired to give in a similar manner.”

We want to send a special thank you to those in the restaurant industry who are working to help us bring food to our communities. Please consider making a donation today so that we can continue to provide food, housing, and basic assistance for our families during this crisis.

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