Who we are
Isaac is the perfect person for leading the 2 Li’l Fishes team. Extensive work in restaurants, years as a supervisor for a local shelter, and his own personal experience give him deep insight into the needs of troubled individuals. His wit, energy and sincerity are the guiding forces behind our efforts. Contact Isaac.
Michael’s background in cooking, custodial care and security helps keep 2 Li’l Fishes in ship-shape, running smoothly on a regular basis. Each meal day his warm smile greets our guests, and his focus provides a safe environment in which they’re able to enjoy their food.
Hi, I’m Joisette Cain, but everyone calls me Josie. I’m the volunteer coordinator and head cook here at 2 Li’l Fishes. Contact Josie.
Michael Byrnes – Cook
Tanisha Thomas – Cook
The History—How we got here
In the mid-1990s the Peoples Church of Chicago began a meal program as a way to help the growing number of people in need in the Uptown community. It operated with a small budget, one part-time staff person, served meals on three days, and helped about 300-350 Guests each week. The program continued in this way for more than ten years. In 2006 our current Program Coordinator, Isaac Barrantine, took on running the program. Isaac was inspired by the New Testament miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, when many were fed from little because there was a belief that it could be done and a will to make it so. From this inspiration the 2 Li’l Fishes concept was born. By 2008, with the backing of the Peoples Church and the generosity of various individuals, organizations and corporations, the meal program was able to support a staff of three, purchase equipment and appliances for food storage and preparation and add a fourth day of meal service. In the summer of 2012, we added two more meal days, so that the 2 Li’l Fishes meal program now serves hot, nutritious lunches, in a safe environment, to over 500 Guests each week. Still in the same location, the program operates as part of the Preston Bradley Center, the non-profit 501(c)(3) arm of Peoples Church.
The historic neighborhood of Uptown borders Lake Michigan on the North Side of Chicago. Its residents spring from five of the world’s six continents. More than a dozen different languages are spoken here, and the cuisine of its restaurants is as varied as Mexican to Vietnamese, Ethiopian to Mediterranean, American to Arabic. Small businesses and retailers mirror the multiple ethnic origins of their operators. The many attractions of the community include concert venues, nightclubs, beaches, lakeside parks and field houses, and Montrose Harbor. In all Uptown draws its residents from many lifestyles and many places. Uptown is also home to many who, because of various circumstances, cannot afford the food they need. Perhaps they experience homelessness, or poverty, or just need a hand at the end of the month. Regardless, 2 Li’l Fishes serves all who come.
The Facility—Our home
The Peoples Church of Chicago has been a voice for faith, equality, justice and community in Chicago for over 130 years, and welcomes people from all walks of life. They explore spirituality, share deeply, and care for neighbors and the Earth. Worship is at 10am on Sundays, followed by The Coffee Hour for conversation and refreshments at 11am. The Preston Bradley Center, the 501(c) 3 arm of Peoples Church, is a hub for community engagement in Uptown, housing not only the church, many other programs focused on community outreach, spirituality, and the arts. The beautiful auditorium has wonderful acoustics, and can accommodate large or small groups, for music performances, weddings, or meetings. Check out the Peoples Church website.