Faces of Hunger
The Greater Chicago Food Depository conducted extensive research in early 2009 in conjunction with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization with a network of more than 200 food banks and food rescue organizations. Nationwide, the study found that an estimated 37 million people rely on emergency food and grocery assistance provided by network food banks and food rescue organizations. More than 61,000 clients and 37,000 agencies were surveyed nationwide. For the Cook County study, 440 clients and 503 agencies were interviewed.
Increasing need in Cook County
Nearly 678,000 people each year rely on emergency and supplemental food provided by the Food Depository and its member network of 650 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. That figure represents a 36 percent increase over Hunger in America 2006 and reflects the recession and accompanying rising unemployment rates. Each week, the Food Depository and its member agencies serve 142,400 men, women and children.
The face of hunger
- About 37 percent of the people the Food Depository serves are children under 18
- Nine percent of clients are children under 5
- Six percent of clients are homeless
- 34 percent of households include at least one employed adult
- 22 percent of households report their main source of income is from a job
- 10 percent own the place where they live
- 44 percent receive SNAP/Food Stamp benefits
- 51 percent female
- 49 percent male
- 64 percent non-Hispanic Black
- 21 percent Latino or Hispanic
- 12 percent non-Hispanic White
Assistance helps make ends meet, hard choices lead to hunger
- 47 percent of households say they have to choose between paying for food and utilities
- 44 percent report choosing between paying for food and rent or mortgage
- 28 percent of clients say they have to choose between food and paying for medicine or healthcare
- 88 percent of food pantries report seeing more clients than in 2006
- 60 percent of food pantries are completely volunteer-run and have no paid staff
- Food pantries, shelters and soup kitchens report receiving 81 percent, 65 percent and 59 percent of their food from the Food Depository, respectively.