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Greater Food Depository Of Chicago

Faqs About The Food Depository

A look into the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Is the Greater Chicago Food Depository a government agency?

No. We are an independent, non-governmental organization. Like many nonprofits, we receive some funding from the government. However, rest assured that we NEVER share any personal information with government agencies. This includes the police and immigration departments. The only information we share is statistics about the number of meals provided and the number of people we serve.

Who do you serve?

We proudly serve anyone in need of food. The Food Depository and our partners do not discriminate on the basis of religion, sexual orientation, race, age or ability.

Do staff at the Food Depository only speak English?

No. We have many Spanish-speaking and bilingual employees, volunteers and community partners across our network.


Nourishing Community Health And Hope

Serving our neighbors in need starts with understanding what those needs are. As communities continue to face hunger, the need for resources to address food insecurity is higher than ever.

The Nourish Project will meet that need by increasing the availability of healthy, prepared meals and addressing the root causes of hunger across Chicago and Cook County.

In Partnership With Feeding America The Siemens Foundation Is Providing Six Million Meals* To People In Need Through Local Food Banks Across The Country

The Siemens Foundation, through its partnership with Feeding America ®, today announced a donation of $100,000 to Greater Chicago Food Depository to address the growing need to fight hunger in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With these funds, the food bank is able to provide more meals to people experiencing food insecurity in the Chicago community.

This donation is part of a larger national effort by the Siemens Foundation to provide six million meals* toFeeding America to supportpeoplein need in Atlanta Chicago Malvern, PA Orlando Sacramento and Washington, DC.

A year into the pandemic, food insecurity is a significantly more prevalent challenge across the country in communities where we live and work, said Dave Hopping, member of the Siemens Foundation Board of Directors and CEO of Siemens Smart Infrastructure Solutions & Services. With Siemens Smart Infrastructure North American Headquarters located in nearby Buffalo Grove, its important to serve the community in our own back yard, and this donation through Feeding America represents the Siemens Foundations commitment to doing our part and supporting families and individuals in need.

Aligned with its mission to close the opportunity gap in America, the Siemens Foundation worked closely with Feeding America to provide support to localmemberfood banks thatserve peoplein need.

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Over 40 Years And Millions Of Meals Later

In 1979, six people came together and opened the first food bank in Illinois with a mission to bring hope and end hunger in our community. The Food Depository has since grown to support a local network of 700 pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs that help us advance our mission to end hunger.

I got involved in the fight against hunger years ago before there were any pantries handing out food day to day.

Offering Food Resources And Hope

~ Greater Chicago Food Depository ~ 4100 W. Ann Lurie Place, Chicago ...

For our Chicago and Cook County Neighbors.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicagos food bank, started with one purpose to nourish our neighbors at risk of hunger. And as the needs of our neighbors have evolved, so have we.

Our work against hunger has expanded to address the issues that cause food insecurity and poverty. To achieve our mission, we work in partnership with a network of community-based organizations and individuals. Together, we connect our neighbors with healthy food, lift our voices and advance solutions that address the root causes of hunger poverty, systemic inequity and structural racism. Together, we are greater. Together, we can end hunger.

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Greater Chicago Food Depository

4100 W Ann Lurie Pl.Chicago, Illinois 60632
700 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters
Executive Director

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a nonprofit organization that fights hunger throughout Cook County, Illinois. The GCFD distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community programs, serving more than 800,000 adults and children every year. In fiscal year 2016, the GCFD distributed more than 70 million pounds of nonperishable food, produce, dairy products, and meat – the equivalent of more than 160,000 meals every day. Of the $96,883,955 spent in 2016, over 90% went to direct food distribution programs.

The GCFD is a charter member of Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network.

One Of The Best Ways To Give Is With Your Voice

Giving back can mean looking forward to a shared future.

Sign a petition. Contact your legislator. Raise your voice to make a larger impact on the root causes of hunger.

With a focus on anti-hunger, public health and anti-poverty policies, our team understands the intersections of food insecurity, nutrition and health and collaborates with our coalition partners to advance solutions that promote equitable food access and take on the root causes of hunger.

I dont have much I just have time. It feels good to use it to help people.

Helen Han has been passing out fresh food to her neighbors at her local food distribution site for years. She understands how intimidating and overwhelming it must feel to ask for help so she helps her neighbors by confidently stuffing their basks with produce.

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Roasted Chicken With Mash & Gravy

Holiday Helpings: Roasted chicken with mash and gravy

FOX 32’s Sylvia Perez and Chef Erick Williams of Virtue Restaurant team up to make roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

FOX 32’s Sylvia Perez and Chef Erick Williams of Virtue Restaurant team up to make roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

To get the full recipe and instructions to make this dish, make a donation to the Greater Chicago Food Depository here.

History Of Greater Chicago Food Depository

Greater Chicago Food Depository: Together We Are Greater

Since 1979, the Food Depository has made a daily impact on hunger across Cook County. The Food Depository acts as the hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs. Alford Group has partnered with the Greater Chicago Food Depository for almost 20 years.

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Client & Community Outcomes


During this project, The Food Depository was going through a mindset shift to decenter themselves within the emergency food ecosystem. They recognized the critical role they play in the region, but could also tell that whatever future strategy they implemented would impact emergent, emergency food efforts developing during COVID-19 by communities themselves.

This self-awareness helped them shift mindsets from focusing on being the central hub of an emergency food ecosystem to that of a partner and support to other emerging food providers in the area.

We are thrilled. Greater Good Studio worked with our team and the larger emergency food community to build a foundational framework for how the Food Depository can make the greatest impact with prepared meal programs. Weve been working with momentum and energy since our engagement to launch pilots and have focused on the spaces and roles where we are most needed.

Kate MaehrExecutive Director & CEO, Greater Chicago Food Depository

What To Expect At A Food Pantry

Food is a human right.

Food is a human right and everyone deserves to be cared for with dignity and compassion. Our food pantry partners share this belief, and food pantries today are more like a local market than anything else.

Most food pantries today are more like grocery stores. You choose what you want and volunteers may help you load your car.

The Food Depository is Chicagos food bank. We provide food for people facing hunger and food insecurity. Visit a food distribution today to receive healthy food and groceries for yourself and your family.

Here, you can pick what you want. Its a blessing. Helps you save a little money helps save everything.

More Ways We Help

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Receive A Freezer With Your Local Ontario Meat Delivery

We understand that youre excited about your local Ontario meat order from Farmway Foods but you might be wondering where to store all your delicious meats! Dont worry, Farmway Foods is here to help.

If you dont own a freezer , well gladly supply a free freezer with your order. And if you re-order from Farmway Foods a second year, the freezer is yours to keep.

Whether you choose to take advantage of our freezer promo or use your current empty freezer, our delivery team will pack your freezer for you when they arrive. To keep your freezer neatly organized, doubles or triples of the same product will be layer-packed toward the bottom of the freezer, and single products will be packed toward the top. This ensures that you dont need to dig through your freezer looking for specific products.

Please note that our meat-only plans do not include our free freezer promo. However, we offer our freezers to our customers at our wholesale cost.

Jll Helps Transform The Greater Chicago Food Depository

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Transformation of Chicagos food bank creates $3 million in savings, optimizes office and cold food storage space, and re-energizes passionate volunteers

$3 million in cost saves


30% WMBE inclusion rate

Enormity of community demand creates need for more space

When the Greater Chicago Food Depository came to JLL to help them transform their office, warehouse and volunteer facilities to be more efficient and effective – they werent really thinking about renovating their space. At the outset of the project, Executive Director & CEO Kate Maehr, recalls thinking space wasnt that important. By the end of the process, she had completely changed her mind.

I think people walk into this building and they are struck by the enormity of the need, reflected Kate. The size of this building and energy when you walk into it speaks to the opportunity to make an impact.

Founded in 1979, the Greater Chicago Food Depository is a nonprofit organization whose mission is simple yet powerful – to provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in the Chicagoland community. A charter member of Feeding America, the Food Depository works with a network of 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and community programs to serve over 800,000 people every year. That translates into more than 62 million meals with over 38% being fresh produce which means the right food storage space was extremely important especially to expand access to nutritious food.

The Nourish vision

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Who Can Receive Food And Other Faqs

Who can receive food at one of the Food Depositorys community partners and programs?

Anyone and everyone. Though some of our partners programs are just for older adults or children, the vast majority of our network is open to anyone who walks in the doors. The Food Depository and its network partners proudly serve all of our neighbors, regardless of race, religion, immigration status or any other factors.

Whats it like to visit a food pantry or a soup kitchen for the first time?

Youll find that our community partners are kind, welcoming and respectful. No one should be embarrassed or ashamed about seeking out food assistance in their time of need. Many people who experience food insecurity a lack of consistent access to nutritious food find that its a temporary situation. We all have our own challenges. Everyone needs a little help in life, and everyone is welcome at our programs.

What should I bring?

Neighbors are NOT required to provide ID to receive service. Some partners may ask for ID depending on additional services provided and/or to verify that you reside in their service area and/or to ensure you do not exceed the permitted number of monthly visits, but no one is required to show ID to receive support. If in doubt, call ahead.

We also suggest that you bring a cart or sturdy bag to carry your groceries home if you are not driving. Some items, such as canned goods, rice and potatoes can get heavy.

What kinds of food assistance programs are there?


Since 2008 Fia Has Raised $4 Million For The Group Through Its Steak Out Event

14 August 2019

Hunger may sound like a problem only faced by the poorest regions of the world, but nearly 12% of American households do not know where their next meal will come from. Research also shows that hunger affects many kinds of people in the U.S., across all regions and races and age groups.

That makes the work of the Greater Chicago Food Depository vital to the communities it serves, and has challenged the food bank to continually evolve since it opened back in 1979.

“As the need has evolved in recent years, so too has our response. For example, we serve food pantries in VA hospitals, schools and colleges nontraditional places for food pantries as compared to 10 years ago,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Food Depository. “Certainly many in need are people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness and those with barriers to employment like recent incarceration. But many of them are also working families with young children, college students, military veterans, immigrants striving for a better life and even working professionals recently laid off.”

The result is a comprehensive approach to tackling hunger and many of its related challenges across the Chicago area in the last fiscal year, the Food Depository provided the equivalent of 66 million meals in the region.

The Food Depository has also evolved its outreach to look beyond just providing meals to “address the root causes of hunger,” Maehr said.

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What We Do

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is Chicagos food bank. We provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository is part of a united community effort working to bring food, dignity and hope to our Cook County neighbors. We act as the hub for a network of more than 700 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs. These programs provide food where its most needed. We also address the root causes of hunger. Public benefits outreach and job training programs offer a hand up for our neighbors to overcome poverty.

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