Following the great stock market crash of 1929, the unemployment rate in Chicago skyrocketed. Nearly 40% of people lost their jobs, their homes, and food shortages became a reality. This marked the beginning of The Great Depression.
Seeing the devastation unravelling in his city, one unlikely benefactor decided to do something most unusual. He rented out a storefront and opened up Chicago’s very first soup kitchen.
Who was the individual behind this humanitarian act? None other than “public enemy number one”, Al Capone.
Inside the soup kitchen, smiling women in white aprons served up coffee and pastries for breakfast, soup and bread for lunch, and a hot meal for dinner. No second helpings were denied. No questions were asked, and no one needed to provide proof of their need. People had a place to gather. To connect. To feel not so helpless. Not so alone.
He may have been a gangster. His methods, less than ideal. However this relatively unknown piece of history stands as a testimony to the sweeter character he may have possessed.
Sweet Capone. Bringing people together during a time when unity was needed most. Here at our café, we carry on that tradition - where hope and connection is served up free of charge.