Volunteers preparing extra meals at the Meals on Wheels kitchen in Evanston.

Evanston-based Meals on Wheels of Northeastern Illinois is preparing and delivering more than 300 additional meals a day, after a fire that destroyed the company that normally provides that food for a different part of the metro area.

Those extra meals are in addition to the 500 a day Meals on Wheels NEI prepares for regular clients from Evanston north to the Wisconsin border.

“We’re already bursting at the seams,” Director Deborah Morganfield told Evanston Now.

“But our vounteers have really rallied.”

A Thursday night fire wiped out the Georgis Catering building at 6339 S. Central Ave. in Chicago, near Midway Airport. Georgis put together meals for homebound seniors and disabled individuals in western Cook County.

Now, food prepared in Meals on Wheels NEI’s Evanston kitchen is being taken to distribution points in the old Georgis client area.

“We’re driving down loads for this evening and tomorrow,” Morganfield said from her car, as she was en route with the supplies. And this is just the start.

It looks like this will be a long-term operation. There’s no telling when or even if Georgis Catering will be able to rebuild.

“This will last indefinitely,” Morganfield said.

“They’re not coming back soon.”

Meals on Wheels NEI opened a new kitchen in Evanston in 2020 at Simpson Street and Darrow Avenue, and demand is growing so much that they’re already thinking of opening another further north.

Adding the Georgis clients multiplies the urgency of building another kitchen, Morganfield said.

Morganfield noted that when the call came in about Georgis, her first reaction was “Of course we’ll help.”

But her second reaction was “Oh my gosh,” because of the additional work load.

But her staff and volunteers got to work, preparing even more “fresh, local, really good food” for delivery to those who cannot get out and buy food on their own.

“It’s an honor,” Morganfield said.

“We’re fortunate we can do this. It’s a blessing.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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  1. In my opinion, this is the best not-for-profit in the city of Evanston. If you want to make certain your money is doing good, donate to this wonderful organization. Meals on wheels will not let you down.

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