In 2008, after spending his days volunteering at Common Pantry, Chicago’s oldest continuously-operating food pantry, Scott Best would return home to proudly share with his girlfriend (now wife) how many people he had helped that day. “She would say, ‘You realize it would be better if zero people came,’” recalls Best, named the pantry’s executive director in January. “I’ve come around to that way of thinking. The fact that we have to be here is unfortunate.”
Yet as much as he’d like to put himself out of business, Best instead reports an ongoing uptick in the number of families that rely on weekly food distribution from the pantry, which serves residents who live between Lawrence and Diversey to the north and south, and Ravenswood to Kedzie from east to west. “We’re very busy and demand is going up and up,” he says.