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Common Pantry celebrating grand opening at new North Center facility

Common Pantry opens its doors to new facility in North Center
Common Pantry opens its doors to new facility in North Center 01:01

CHICAGO (CBS) -- After spending 36 years helping people out of a church basement, a North Side food pantry finally has its own building.

On Thursday, the doors of the new Common Pantry, located on Lincoln Avenue near Irving Park, were opened to guests to grab a cart and pick the items they wanted. 

The facility is equipped with several refrigerators for milk and perishables and lots of shelves to stock other items. 

The team at Common Pantry wants to reduce barriers and stigmas so people can get food to feed their families.

"Putting food on your table can sometimes be the last thing you think about when crisis hits like a job loss, a medical bill a sick family member. We're just really able to be dignified and non-judgmental when someone comes to find food," said Executive Director Margaret O'Conner. 

The pantry will offer a weekly hot lunch program, grocery assistance, connections to poverty resources, and a kitchen people can share to prep meals. There is also a patio space for community gatherings such as meetings and events.  

The nonprofit food pantry purchased the building in 2021, with the help of $1.5 million in state grants. It originally got its start inside Epiphany United Church of Christ in 1988.

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