A Chicago man’s passion for finding a solution to food insecurity has caught the attention of the American Diabetes Association, and his non-profit is making an even bigger difference in people’s lives.
Every Friday and Saturday, Dion’s Chicago Dream vans crisscross 23 Chicago neighborhoods delivering fresh produce direct to consumers like Jessica Clark, a Calumet Heights resident.
“I think we got the first box two weeks ago,” said Clark. “The first box was fresh fruit. The second box was fresh vegetables.”
Clark said she believes it’s important to add healthy foods to diets.
“Winter is coming, so it allows you to prepare your immune system for whatever’s coming as it’s about to get cold outside,” she said.
In early February 2021, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, NBC 5 first caught up with Dion’s Chicago Dream as they stocked their Project Dream Fridge on 57th and Racine in Englewood. The food is free for the taking. The nonprofit started its delivery program the weekend after that story aired.
Earlier this month, Dion’s Chicago Dream reached a new monthly delivery milestone, providing 15,000 pounds of fresh produce to 375 families living in so-called food deserts.
“It feels amazing. We’re doing what we are supposed to be doing,” said Dion Dawson, founder and executive director of Dion’s Chicago Dream. “We are progressing naturally and organically, and with food insecurity, we’ve been able to find our niche.”
Thanks to a new partnership with the American Diabetes Association, the nonprofit is really ramping up now, Dawson said.
“They saw what we were doing. They … saw the potential to not only be there but scale it. It’s been a match made in heaven.”
The 2-year-old nonprofit is all about re-imagining what food insecurity response looks like.
“Our model is about not taking used produce, not using volunteers as anchors in our program. Our organization, our movement is built on our team being paid what they are worth. A competitive wage and never getting used produce. “
For more information on how to support Dion’s Chicago Dream, click here.