From left: Evanston City Council Member Bobby Burns, Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss; Rotarian and volunteer Bryant Wallace, Northwestern University student Tanya Bhargava, Wendy Weaver, NU student Anna Wittcoff, NU student Sydney Goldstein and Clarence Weaver participate in the ribbon-cutting of the C&W Foundation food pantry. Behind Weaver is Larry Singer, board chair, Evanston Community Foundation. Credit: Wendy Kromash
Clarence Weaver, founder and owner of C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor with his wife, Wendy, said the numbers keep increasing for the bags of groceries they and a host of volunteers organize, distribute, bag and give away each Saturday morning.
“We went from 25 to 65 to 122 to 165 to 220. And now we’re right at 170,” Clarence Weaver said.
The Weavers are also founders of the C&W Foundation, which was a recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Evanston. The Evanston Rotary Club designated “building food security” as its signature project.
The grant helped the Weavers organize their basement into a food pantry, whose symbolic ribbon-cutting took place Saturday, June 4, at 12:30 pm In attendance were Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss, 5th Ward Council Member Bobby Brown and three Northwestern students who helped connect the Rotary chapter with the C&W Foundation: Tanya Bhargava, Anna Wittcoff and Sydney Goldstein.
The Weavers are local fixtures at their northwest corner of Dodge and Church, and when the word got out, volunteers started pouring in to help.
“I don’t think you can live here and feel comfortable without caring,” Burns said.
Biss said of the Weavers, “It’s not enough for you to be prominent community leaders and owners of this successful, iconic, treasured business [but also to be] giving back in so many ways. And you chose to do it so fast and so effectively in this moment that we needed so badly. I just want to say we owe you a great debt.”
Clarence Weaver said that eight years ago, he and Wendy Weaver passed by the corner and she saw the “for rent” sign.
“I saw the lightbulb go off,” he said.
He honored his wife and said his main role is to “execute her vision.”
They both said they feel blessed and honored to be able to make a difference in people’s lives.
“We’re honored to represent the entire community with this battle,” Clarence Weaver said.
Wendy Weaver agreed.
“We could not have any of this without your help and we just thank you,” she said to the crowd. “Thank you.”