It is not an exaggeration to say Gertrude Snodgrass is one of the most important people in Chicago food history you’ve probably never heard of. One of the co-founders of the Greater Chicago Food Depository — the food bank for pantries operating in Cook County — and the only Black member of the founding group, she was key in convincing pastors on the South and West sides in the ’70s that this new model of funneling food to the poor deserved their support. But despite her importance to Chicago, there are no honorary street signs, no statues, no plaques, and, even more shocking: no marker on her grave. Greg Trotter is a former Chicago Tribune reporter who shifted to the non-profit side, working first for the Food Depository and now for Nourishing Hope (formerly Lakeview Pantry). He dusted off his reporting skills for a Chicago Magazine article about Ms. Snodgrass. In the audio clips below, he tells WGN’s Steve Alexander about Gertrude Snodgrass’s outsized importance to Chicago, about her life, and about his hopes that she will be properly honored and recognized, including with a grave marker. And if you’re related to Ms. Snodgrass (a requirement if we are to get her a grave marker) please contact us.
A true Chicago food hero not only doesn't have a statue or street sign in her honor, she doesn't have a grave marker.