Food For Those In Need: Pan de Vida Opens Fourth Location in Chicago

New Life Centers’ Pan de Vida food pantry opens a fourth location on Monday, April 15, 2024 in Midway.

The neighborhood of Midway recently celebrated the grand opening of a new Pan de Vida, which translates to “Bread of Life”, location at New Life Centers. This marked a collaborative effort with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to provide food to thousands within the community. Born from a mother and daughter team in 2010, Pan de Vida, an open food pantry service, had the goal to feed those in need. With this expansion, Pan de Vida now proudly serves in four locations across the city, extending its reach from Humboldt Park to Little Village, Albany Park, and now Midway.

Reflecting on the expansion to the fourth location, Chief Executive Officer at New Life Centers Matt DeMateo, spoke on the pivotal role Pan de Vida played, especially during the height of the pandemic. “What started as a small army of volunteers feeding a few families in May of 2020 has now grown. During the last four years, we fed over three and a half million people, and this space has been feeding families ever since.”

Among those present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the latest Pan de Vida location were members of New Life Centers, community leaders and politicians.

New Life Centers Chief Executive Officer Matt DeMateo speaks at the Pan de Vida ribbon cutting n Monday, April 15, 2024 in Midway.

Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia echoed Pastor DeMateo’s words, “[Pan de Vida] is a great testament to what New Life is all about. There is such a great need on the front line,” he said, highlighting the significance of access to nutritious food and praising New Life’s work.

Sana Syal the Senior Director for Partnership Services & Support at the Greater Chicago Food Depository detailed the ongoing need to expand options and ensure food accessibility for all. “Currently in the Chicago metro area, 26% of households with children are food insecure. That number only climbs higher to 29% in Latinx households and 39% in Black households. That’s a continued need to provide a greater variety of options.”

After a prayer led by Pastor Mark Jobe, the ribbon to the new pantry was cut, participants toured Pan de Vida and then ate food donated by Midway neighborhood restaurants. 

New Life’s latest location of Pan de Vida showcased the power of compassion and collective action in addressing the needs of the most vulnerable among us.