Growing to Give to Care for Real

Care for Real donations

Sarah Mallin with a donation of vegetables and herbs.

Grow2Give is Peterson Garden Project’s program for growing fresh, organic produce for food pantries and nutrition programs. We dedicate at least 5% of the beds at each garden to Grow2Give. Care for Real in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago has been a long-time partner for the program, and Lyle Allen, Care for Real’s executive director, kindly shared his thoughts below.

Care for Real, a 501(c)(3) not for profit, has been providing free programs and services to our neighbors in need for more than 45 years. We manage an innovative food distribution that reaches approximately 65,000 annually. Our organization offers a client choice model, essentially operating as a small grocery store, allowing clients to pick and choose the food they bring home to prepare.

The majority of our clients are seniors and families with children under the age of 18. We understand the importance of not only filling bellies, but providing better food options to ensure clients are eating better and living healthier lifestyles. Care for Real is so grateful to Peterson Garden Project for their support and dedication to our mission.

Care for Real donations at garden

Volunteers harvested more than 75 pounds of sunchokes from the Hello!Howard garden in October to donate to Care for Real.

Their weekly donation drop offs harvested from their Grow2Give gardens make for especially exciting days at our agency, bringing bounties of fresh, locally grown, organic produce to a population that does not have the financial resources to purchase on their own.

From the smile of an immigrant discovering a unique vegetable that reminds them of their own homeland, to the look on a child’s face the first time they truly taste a delicious cherry tomato, I give sincere thanks to Peterson Garden Project for bringing joy (and healthier food) into the lives of our clients.

Lyle Allen, Executive Director, Care for Real