Chicago Defender of the Week: Feeding the Soul of Seniors and Healthcare Workers: How Josephine’s Southern Cooking is Serving a Need in the Chatham Community

In a time where it can be difficult for individuals to go out for food, neighborhood businesses, such as Josephine’s Southern Cooking, have stepped up to serve those in need.

Chante Gamby (CG): Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Victor Love (VL): My name is Victor Love, the son of Mother Josephine Wade and the owner of Josephine’s Southern Cooking.

CG: What is Josephine’s Southern Cooking?

VL: Josephine’s is  a restaurant that started formerly as Captain Hard Time. It was started by my Mother Josephine Wade. We are now in our 31st year in the Chatham community, serving breakfast and soul food in the neighborhood.

CG: How is your business doing among this time of Coronavirus?  What are some of the challenges that you are experiencing?

VL: We’re devastated. The loss of business, the loss of revenue, the loss of employees, and the loss of morale. People are stressed and not knowing which way is up. There are so many different loans and grants. We filled out all the paperwork and we are waiting for those things to come through. We are still trying to provide work for those employees who are steady. We had to reduce hours to keep people working. But even through all of that, we have always been concerned about our community and the less fortunate.

CG: What is your business doing to support those in need currently?

VL: We took on a project for two weeks of feeding seniors delivering to their front door. It went excellent; we served over 3500 meals with the help of Mother Josephine Wade, and her foundation, the We Women Empowered Foundation.  We got out here to do what we had to- feed people. I look forward to servicing the seniors and others who are less fortunate, but it takes money to do that, so we are coming up with ways to raise money and be creative to continue it. Not a day goes by without me receiving a call or text about this since we stopped.  Every day the restaurant phone is ringing because people are still in need of food, seniors in particular. It kind of breaks your heart, because people keep calling and we don’t have a way to feed those seniors, yet. I say yet because we are working on ways to get back to feeding them.

Today, we are serving the first responders at Roseland Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, and Jackson Park hospital, and two police stations. We partnered with Reverend Meeks and Salem Baptist Church, Mary Hugkins, Right Way Construction, as well as Aldermen Carrie Austin and David Moore.

CG: What motivates you to keep your business going at a time where other businesses may be shutting down?

VL: The need of the people keep me motivated.  The fact that our employees need to eat so that they can take care of their families and the fact that there are people in need, like the seniors.

CG: How can people support the work that you are doing?

VL: People can go to  www.wewomenempowered.org to make donations. Every little bit helps, it adds up.

CG: What would you say to other business owners who would like to help but may feel limited in what they can do at this time?

VL: Trust God, and know a little bit can go a long way. Don’t limit yourself.  Look at what you have and see if there is a need for it somewhere in the community.

Josephine’s Southern Cooking is currently taking delivery orders via UberEats and Grubhub. They are also accepting takeout orders. For more information, call 773.487.2900 or visit their website: https://www.josephinescooking.net/.

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