Bread Truck ministry takes food to those on the margins

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Anthony Brown of the Port Ministries delivers bags with sandwiches and chips to people in Back of the Yards on May 28, 2020. Brown delivers the bags — along with bottles of water and Gatorade — six days a week to eight locations. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

For the past 13 years, Anthony Brown has delivered lunch bags of food six days a week, driving  the Port Ministries Bread Truck to people who gather at eight stops in Back of the Yards, Englewood, New City, Gage Park and Canaryville.

He goes rain or shine or even when tragedy strikes, like on May 28, one day after his adult son was shot in the back. While he was out on his route that afternoon, he was receiving updates on his son’s condition and learned that he would likely be paralyzed as a result of the shooting.

Driving the Bread Truck is a personal ministry for Brown.

“I live in the community that I serve so I’m able to help people that I really know, that really need help,” he said.

Brown knows his ministry is more important than ever during COVID-19, with many people out of work and experiencing food insecurity.

“A lot of people think it’s just the homeless who come to the Bread Truck, but I see more families than I do people that don’t have anywhere to live,” Brown said.

Each day he picks up donations of food from churches and organizations around the city and then drives to the stops on his route to pass out the brown paper bags, which contain a sandwich and chips. He also passes out bottles of water and Gatorade.

He visits each stop twice — once in the afternoon and once in early evening.

Before COVID-19, groups would drop off donations to Port Ministries in Back of the Yards, but now Brown picks them up. During the pandemic, he’s wearing a mask and gloves to distribute the food and disinfecting his truck regularly

More people who come out to the truck are telling Brown their problems and looking for answers.

“They’re more nervous. They don’t know exactly what’s going on because every day there’s something new,” Brown said.

Maria Diaz visits the Bread Truck when Brown stops in her Back of the Yards neighborhood.

“I come every day,” said Diaz. “If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where we would get our food because half of the pantries aren’t open right now. It’s very important that he does show up and that he has people donating to him.”

Diaz and the other people at her stop like that Brown talks with them and jokes around, sharing laughter and smiles. She picks up food for her eight children and grandkids and says Brown knows what she needs.

“He knows his people. That’s what I like about him,” she said.



  • corporal works of mercy
  • hunger
  • coronavirus
  • covid-19

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