Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the Greater Chicago Food Depository?
A. The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community.
Q. How do you distribute food?
A. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through its network of 650 qualified agencies throughout Cook County, such as soup kitchens, shelters and pantries. The agencies then distribute the food to hungry men, women and children in their neighborhoods.
Q. What types of food do you distribute?
A. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 67 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 150,000 meals every day. More than 33 percent of the food distributed is fresh fruits and vegetables.
Q. Where do you get the food?
A. The Food Depository receives food from the federal government, wholesalers, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, food drives and Feeding America. Food is also purchased through strategic alliances to ensure there is a consistent supply of much-needed products such as pasta and peanut butter.
If you are a food manufacturer or retailer and want to donate food, visit Donate Food for more details.
Q. How many pounds of food are donated annually?
A. Last year, the Food Depository distributed more than 34.4 million pounds of donated food. Additionally, more than 700 food drive sponsors donated more than 874,000 pounds of food. Food drives are held in churches, schools, office buildings and public facilities, among other places.
Q. Who do you serve?
A. Nearly 142,000 men, women and children turn to the Food Depository and its network every week for food assistance. Nearly 37 percent of the people we serve are children. More than 34 percent of the households we serve include one working adult.
Q. Do your programs extend beyond food provision?
A. Innovative training programs and initiatives developed by the Food Depository also work to provide men, women and children with the tools necessary to break their individual cycles of poverty. Chicago's Community Kitchens is a free, 14-week culinary training program for unemployed and underemployed adults. The Food Depository also partners with community organizations to address other needs.
Q. How can I get food or become a member agency?
A. Anyone in need of food assistance in Cook County can locate a pantry in their neighborhood by searching online or calling the agency relations department at 773-247-FOOD (3663) for information on becoming a member agency.
Q. How do I hold a food drive?
A. Holding a food drive is a fun way to get involved in helping hungry people throughout Cook County. We provide flyers for you to promote your food drive; we’ll even pick up the donation if your drive collects seven or more boxes of food.
Virtual food drives are also available online through the Food Depository as a fun and easy was to raise food. Go to www.every1can.org for more information or to register your food drive with the Food Depository.
Q. Can I tour the Greater Chicago Food Depository?
A. Yes. We offer tours during the last week of the month. Please call 773-247-3663 to schedule a visit.