Celebrating 60 Years of Service

Humble Beginnings: Bobbi Halloran

Bobbi Halloran grew up in Chicago’s Projects, with her mother, two sisters and a controlling, abusive father who was an addicted gambler. Bobbi remembers coming home one night to find that her bed was missing only to discover that her father sold it, leaving his children to sleep on the floor. At the age of 13, Bobbi started working so she could add to the household’s income. She remembers her father picking her up from work and taking her hard-earned paycheck for himself. He did the same with his wife’s and other children’s paychecks. 

Bobbi recalls, “We never had food in the house. I would open the cabinets and fridge, and they were empty. I would walk, even in the snow, to my friend’s house down the road just so I could eat breakfast.” As soon as Bobbi turned 18 years old, she fled.

Bobbi applied for a waitressing job at Sherman’s in Evanston, not knowing she would spend the next 30 years there as a waitress and manager. When the owner passed, she decided she would “retire.” Her daughter, Amy, on the other hand, had a different idea. She wanted her mom to stay active, and when she found a job opening for North Shore Senior Center’s A&A Café, she pushed her to apply. Bobbi did not get that job, but was offered another one at the Center instead—manager of Food Service—and has been here for 11 years since.

Bobbi is not someone who just gets the job done. While working effortlessly behind the scenes, she goes above and beyond every day to create a nurturing environment for the Center. “I love feeding people—I love seeing the joy on people’s faces as they take their first bite. Food is an important factor to someone’s livelihood, and I am happy to give people something I never had growing up.”

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