January 24, 2024

City Of Chicago and DFSS Announce New Local Providers Selected To Fulfill Food Service Contracts At New Arrivals Shelters

Seventy-Seven Communities and 14 Parish were selected through a rigorous process to provide food services to shelters on the North and South Sides.

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – Today, the City of Chicago and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) are announcing the conclusion of the Request for Proposals (RFP) process to find a new food service provider for city-run shelters for New Arrivals. DFSS is pleased to announce that two local agencies, Seventy-Seven Communities and 14 Parish, were selected.

Seventy-Seven Communities will serve as the food provider for shelters in the North Region of Chicago and 14 Parish will serve as the food provider for the New Arrivals shelters in the South Region. Both local agencies have participated in a rigorous and multi-step request for proposal review and evaluation process. They each were able to demonstrate their understanding of the target population and the ability to meet logistical needs of this mission as well as preparation and delivery capacities.

“We know that the New Arrivals Mission is very complex and being able to provide healthy, nutritious, and culturally relevant meals at a time when we know people need our help the most is an important part of this work,” said DFSS Commissioner Brandie Knazze.

Seventy-Seven Communities has been delivering quality meals around Chicagoland for decades and has experience creating specific menus for groups with complex needs, such as Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students.

“We are humbled to be chosen for this opportunity and excited to get to work feeding people nutritious meals and providing quality service,” said Mike Iovinelli Director of Seventy-Seven Communities, LLC . “This is a remarkably diverse team that brings the experience and expertise that this moment demands to ensure we meet the ever evolving needs of migrant families, while also partnering with local restaurants and caterers in communities serving these populations. We are proud to put hundreds of people to work from neighborhoods across the city and unite Chicagoans to successfully navigate this challenging time.”

14 Parish, a women and minority-owned business based on the South Side of Chicago, was heavily involved in providing meals to the migrant population with great success at the beginning of the Mission and will continue to leverage their unique experience and partnerships.

"As a local restauranteur, I've always believed that good food has the power to build bridges. Teaming up with the City of Chicago to feed and welcome newcomers aligns perfectly with this philosophy. Let's break bread and celebrate the rich diversity that makes Chicago extraordinary," said Racquel Fields, CEO of 14 Parish, LLC.

The goals of this RFP were to increase food quality for all New Arrivals shelters and to decrease the cost of the Meals Program for the City. Both Seventy-Seven Communities and 14 Parish have demonstrated that they can provide high quality and culturally congruent meal service to all shelters for $15-$17 per person per day. This is a significant decrease from the $21-$23 the City has been spending on food per person per day prior to this contract. Additionally, both agencies have demonstrated that they have many partnerships with local and minority-owned restaurants, including local Venezuelan restaurants, who will be assisting in creating menus and preparing food that fit both the nutritious and cultural needs of shelter residents.

The City of Chicago has taken in nearly 35,000 new arrivals since the mission began, and currently houses over 14,000 new arrivals in 28 City-run shelters. The City continues to partner with the County and the State to provide asylum seekers with temporary shelter, food services, medical care and case management. The City's goal is to provide dignified care and basic support services for asylum seekers to aid them on their path to self-sufficiency and independence.

“We want to thank our partners for stepping up and helping feed thousands of new arrivals since the start of this mission,” said Deputy Mayor for Immigrant, Migrant, and Refugee Rights Beatriz Ponce de León. “This includes long-standing organizations such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Open Kitchens, and new partners that emerged to fill the need such as Chi-care and the hundreds of mutual aid volunteers who came together to provide food across the city for new arrivals. This is an unprecedented challenge but through coordinated efforts, the City, philanthropy, and community members have been able to ensure our new neighbors have access to meals as they undergo the process to reach self-sufficiency in their new home.”

The City wants to sincerely thank the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Open Kitchens for their early support of this mission and their work in food service delivery for migrant shelters.

Interested individuals can find additional information about the New Arrivals Mission at this link: Chicago: The Welcoming City.

Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) 
Working with community partners, the Department of Family and Support Services connects Chicago residents and families to resources that build stability, support their well-being, and empower them to thrive.