Chicago restaurant owner buys out freezing street vendors and then donates the food to the needy

Chicago restaurant owner buys out freezing street vendors and then donates the food to the needy

March 2, 2021 by Cathy Stack

CHICAGO – Chicago winters are famous for their bitter cold which makes for a difficult time to earn a living for the city’s street vendors. One Chicago based restaurant owner, Robert Magiet, came up with a brilliant and quite generous idea to help these local merchants. He purchases their entire day’s food supply as a clever way to get them out of the frigid cold. Robert then distributes the food to the homeless community turning one good deed into a chain of compassionate events.

Robert has been purchasing cartloads of tamales from Chicago vendors for weeks as the temperature began to plummet into the single digits. “I’m going out every morning and buying out tamale vendors, so they can go home and get out of the cold for the day,” Robert said.  After he rescues the vendors from the frigid weather, he then donates the delicious tamales to either homeless encampments or shelters. Robert also uses his purchases to stock Love Fridges, which are fridges around his city where people can either donate or grab fresh vegetables and cooked meals.

Robert said his idea was sparked spontaneously. “I was driving past Humboldt Park and saw a tamale vendor out, and she looked like she was dressed to be in Antarctica,” he recalled. “I pulled over and asked her if I bought all of her tamales, would she go home for the day and get out of the cold?  She said, ‘Of course, absolutely, yes.’ I guess it just started from there,” he explained. Robert also provides the vendors with a generous tip.  Street vendors have been hit hard by the pandemic as the pedestrian population has shrunk by as much as half in the city.  The hard-working vendors are grateful for Robert’s kindness as well as all the community support they have received.

“Well, I feel really happy. The man is like an angel,” said tamale vendor Javier Hernandez.

Robert’s ingenious idea took off on social media and he immediately began receiving donations from the community.  Robert plans to continue buying out street vendors all winter with the help of donations from kind strangers who have joined him on his compassionate mission.

The good Samaritan said he also plans to extend an offer of employment to some of the vendors whom he admires.  Robert is no stranger to helping others. Throughout the pandemic, he started a movement with other local restaurants called the West Town Feeds to help their community. Together they provide hundreds of free hot meals to those experiencing homelessness.  Robert said he is not trying to save the world, rather just trying to help neighbors in need.

Passiton believes that Robert Magiet’s action is a great example of the value of helping others.  He witnessed his fellow community members struggling, some from the bitter cold and others from hunger, and found a unique way in which he could help them. His compassionate action is providing hope to those who need it most.  Please help us honor this community hero by sharing his heartwarming story. 

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Chicago restaurant owner buys out freezing street vendors and then donates the food to the needy #helpingothers...

Posted by Foundation for A Better Life on Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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Your Comments
Cynthia Cassandra from Logan, OH APRIL 3, 2021
Amazing! In a world of negative news, this is SO wonderful to hear there are great things happening.

Dorothy Vaughn MARCH 5, 2021
Wonderful!!! A very thoughtful effort to show care.

Cheryl from Oconomowoc Wi MARCH 3, 2021
Everyday we are inundated with negative news and it weighs heavy on ones soul. Your stories of inspiration of others giving of themselves gives me great hope for humanity. Thank you for all you do! You are the angels among us!

Jan Scotto from Rochester, NY MARCH 3, 2021
What a great and loving idea! In our community, someone had this wonderful idea of setting up "food boxes" around the city. I heard about in the news and wanted to learn more. We learned there are 11 boxes all around the city and they are made of wood with shelves. As my husband and I have been richly blessed to continue to have jobs during this pandemic, we decided t "adopt" a food box. Each week, we drive to our box and drop off a variety of foods that are winter weather safe. It seems like we just get more food each week, as we are excited to bless the lives of others! We noticed a couple of weeks ago that someone even made some beautiful wooden doors for the box to keep the food safe from animals and to make it look really nice!

Mariana Miller-D'Alessandro from Bronx, New York MARCH 2, 2021
Amazing story - an inspiration of how we can help! God bless these brave people!

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