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Mayor Brandon Johnson celebrates $17.6 million effort to feed migrants through Black and Latino businesses

Chicago touts $18M effort to feed migrants at city shelters
Chicago touts $18M effort to feed migrants at city shelters 00:45

CHICAGO (CBS) -- City leaders visited a Far South Side restaurant on Tuesday to promote Chicago's mission of feeding the thousands of asylum seekers living in city shelters.

Mayor Brandon Johnson and members of his staff toured BJ's Market and Bakery in the South Deering neighborhood. It's one of 17 businesses serving hot meals to migrants in city shelters, thanks to $17.6 million in state funding and private donations to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

The network of mostly small Black- and Latino-owned restaurants and caterers has been serving approximately 18,000 meals per day at migrant shelters since the end of 2023.

"It is a model of what we were able to do; not only providing millions of meals for new arrivals, but also reinvesting millions of dollars in small and local Black- and Brown-owned businesses," said Kate Maehr, executive director & CEO of the Food Depository.

BJ's Market owner chef and owner John Meyer said his restaurant has seen a 100% increase in revenue, allowing him to hire four additional staff, since partnering with the Food Depository on the effort to feed asylum seekers.

Other restaurants and businesses involved in the effort include Blueprint Group, Catering Out the Box, Rome's Joy Catering, Carnitas Uruapan, Food Hero, Chi-Care (a non-profit food collective), Chi-Fresh, Chinese American Service League, Garifuna Flava, Irazu, Jarabe, La Merced, Los Comales, Nellie's, Atzimba Catering, and Nuevo Leon.

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