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CPS Cancelled Meal Pickup. Local Restaurants Stepped In.

Amid the George Floyd protests, Chicago Public Schools paused lunch pickup on Monday. Now, neighborhood chefs are filling the void.

Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya Antojería
Diana Dávila of Mi Tocaya Antojería Photos: Jeff Marini

Last night, Chicago Public Schools announced that it would temporarily suspend grab-and-go meal pick-up for students, as unrest spread across the city following the death of George Floyd.

Even with schools shuttered due to COVID-19, those meals remain a vital source of food for many CPS students. The district says it had provided more than 12 million meals to students since schools closed for in-person instruction, and now, some local restaurants are stepping up to help fill the void.

One spot offering food to CPS students is Mi Tocaya Antojería, located in Logan Square.

“We are a neighborhood Mexican restaurant,” wrote chef/owner Diana Davila on Instagram. “I am a Mexican-American woman, mother of two. Almost every single one of our employees have experienced racism from the color of their skin, ethnic background multiple times, including myself. We stand with our black sisters and brothers. … To honor our ancestors, pay homage to the women whom created it and most importantly made with LOVE, we are giving 350 meals out today in our community.”

Mi Tocaya is providing meals at Hermosa’s Kelvyn Park High School, 4343 W. Wrightwood Ave.

In Albany Park, Bokeh is currently giving out free lunches to kids at 4716 N. Kedzie, until they run out. Uptown’s Urban Grill is providing 350 meals, consisting of a hot dog and fries or boneless chicken and fries, to students until 3 p.m. at 1132 W. Wilson Ave. In Logan Square, Paulie Gee’s is providing pizzas for kids at 2451 N. Milwaukee Ave. And in Lakeview, Cesar’s Killer Margaritas will be distributing a boxed meal per child at 3166 N. Clark St. from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

At a press conference this morning, CEO Janice Jackson announced that CPS’s goal is to restart meal pick-up on Tuesday, and that families experiencing a food emergency should call 773-553-KIDS for meal delivery.

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