July 11, 2020

Much is proud to announce our support of Village Minds, a grassroots project started by Chicago resident Natia Simone that focuses on supplying food for local seniors. The firm's involvement includes providing pro bono legal services, facilitating key partnerships and onsite volunteering.

Simone launched Village Minds after seeing many neighborhoods on the south and west sides of Chicago deal with widespread food insecurity after riots and looting in June 2020. She thought about the seniors who lost access to food, medicine and other vital resources, and realized she could make a difference by reaching out to the community through social media. Simone created a Facebook group to spread the word, and in less than a week, she collected enough donations and amassed a team of volunteers large enough to deliver bags of fresh produce and other donated goods to nearly 500 seniors. Later in June, Village Minds served another 300 seniors and the Facebook group grew from five members to more than 800 members.

Much legal secretary Taryn Laseter serves on the Village Minds Board of Directors and reached out to her colleagues for help with the organization's July 11 food distribution event. Volunteers from Much, Village Minds and additional friends and family members worked together to pack nearly 200 bags of fresh food. Another 250 boxes of pre-packaged fresh produce were delivered to the site for distribution as well. Marissa Downs, a Much attorney, connected Village Minds with Lakeview Pantry, where she serves as a board member, so the organizations can work together to fight hunger in our shared community. The generous food donations and the efforts of volunteers helped Village Minds exceed its goal.

"You have to start where you are, within your circle of influence. That has been a recurring theme for me as I, like many people, have tried to make a lasting impact, positively influence those around me and be a part of the solution for the current issues plaguing our nation," said Laseter. "Natia's example was a master class on how to do just that. She tapped into her village, which included me and other Whitney Young High School alumni, and wielded that influence to bless some of the most vulnerable and valued members of our community – our elders. I am humbled by her invitation to join the board of Village Minds and encouraged by the outpouring of support, on all levels, from Much. It is truly a joy to work with people with whom I share passions both inside and outside the office."

The Much team is proud to play a role in the Village Minds mission to provide access to resources for seniors and other people in underserved Chicago communities, especially during these unprecedented past few months.

"Giving back has been a crucial part of Much's core values since its establishment 50 years ago. Partnering with Village Minds is a fantastic opportunity to support an organization and a mission that is important to members of the Much family," said Steve Blonder, chair of Much Community. "More than ever, it is critical that we roll up our sleeves and come together as a firm to help underserved members of the Chicago community."

This article contains material of general interest and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Under applicable rules of professional conduct, this content may be regarded as attorney advertising.