The Issue: Food Insecurity in Cook County
More than 16% of Cook County residents experience food insecurity, according to data compiled by the US Department of Agriculture in 2012, and in some communities more than 50% of people are uncertain where they will get their next meals. Families who experience food insecurity often lack the means to acquire fresh fruit and produce, which can seem like an unnecessary, often expensive luxury. When that happens, the lack of nutrients and vitamins can have a harmful impact, leading to sickness and a lack of energy.
The Campaign: Distributing Fresh Fruit to Families
If 50 people donate $10 to this Grassroots campaign, then the Greater Chicago Food Depository can distribute one week’s worth of fresh fruit to 50 families of four. Each family will receive 90 pieces of fruit, or roughly enough for each member to have at least three pieces per day. With a crew of volunteers packing the fruit into Producemobiles, the food depository distributes it to families in urban food deserts, who would not otherwise have access to fresh produce.
Each week, the food depository provides access to nourishment for more than 142,000 people, of which more than 1/3 are children and nearly 40% are working families. During the next few years, it aims to expand its fresh-produce supply to represent 30% of its overall annual distribution.
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Greater Chicago Food Depository
The Greater Chicago Food Depository strives to end hunger in Chicago communities by distributing food through a network of 650 pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. Volunteers and employees inspect, sort, and repackage all donated food to ensure safety, and distribute the food every weekday to its member agencies. Along with community kitchens and food pantries, the organization organizes children's programs and partners with Chicago Public Schools to distribute fresh produce and other nutritious food at food pantries located in schools. Last year, the food depository distributed 64 million pounds of nonperishables, fresh produce, daily products, and meat—the equivalent of 134,800 meals each day to people in need in Cook County.