Despite the disconcerting ebb and flow of time in 2020, December is well underway. It’s a time to give back to others — especially those in need —and this year, that need is all the greater. The pandemic and its economic fallout have left many Chicagoans jobless and lacking the basic resources to care for themselves and their families. In turn, several local chefs and restaurants are creating opportunities for residents to step up and support one another.
- Piece Brewery and Pizzeria on December 21 will donate 100 pizzas to displaced service industry workers. Eligible recipients can call the restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Monday for a small red or white pizza, or a New Haven tomato pie, with a choice of one topping. Industry members can call (773) 772-4422 to place an order with a limit of one pizza per person.
- Latin American restaurant Amaru on Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. will give away 50 family meals to restaurant workers on a first come, first served basis in Wicker Park. Chef Rodolfo Cuadros and his wife, a Chicago Public Schools teacher, are also working to help feed students and their families. Customers can support that effort by purchasing an Amaru Christmas meal to donate.
- Chef Erick Williams of Virtue in Hyde Park is leading a Get Up & Give Virtual Toy Drive for UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital in an effort to bring books, toys, and games to children undergoing treatment. Donors can help by purchasing a gift card from 57th Street Books online or by phone, buying from Toys et Cetera — and having the sale matched with a toy of equal or greater value — or donating items from the hospital’s Amazon wish list. Donors are encouraged to read the gift guidelines before purchasing for the drive.
- The Irving Park Community Food Pantry is seeking donations to help bring food and toys to neighborhood families, according to Block Club Chicago. Supporters can donate money online via PayPal through the pantry’s website, or send checks to Irving Park Food Pantry, 4256 N. Ridgeway Ave., Chicago, IL 60618. Organizers encourage donors to take action before Wednesday to make sure gifts are there in time for distribution.
- Lakeview Pantry is distributing 80-100 pound boxes that contain about a months’ worth of food, including a holiday entree like turkey or ham, out of a new distribution center in Avondale, Block Club reports. The boxes are designed for those facing food insecurity — typically defined as families of four that make less than $45,000 — and can be picked up at 2718 W. Roscoe Street. The new Avondale location was set up to keep up with a sharp increase in need during the pandemic.
And in other news...
— Michelin-starred fine dining stalwart Goosefoot in Lincoln Square has pivoted to offer a carryout selection of comfort food like steak Diane and chicken Francese under the banner of Goosefoot Food & Wine, Block Club reports. Before the pandemic, Goosefoot featured a $145 multi-course tasting menu.
— As Lawry’s the Prime Rib prepares to close at the end of 2020 after nearly half a century, fans can hang onto the flavors that kept them coming back: the restaurant is offering a Lawry’s Chicago Momento Box, complete with a bottle of Lawry’s Vintage French dressing, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt & Seasoned Pepper (the Chicago-exclusive Mansion version) a jar of C.C. Brown’s Hot Fudge Sauce, and recipe cards of favorites from the restaurant, including creamed corn, creamed spinach, prime rib, and Richard Frank’s prime rib hash, along with some extra keepsakes. Order online via the Lawry’s website.