Children food assistance

SUMMER MEALS FOR CHILDREN

In Cook County, 1 in 5 children is at risk of hunger. During the summer months, feeding children in our community becomes especially important as those receiving free and reduced-price school meals lose an important source of food. Last year, only 11.5 percent of Illinois children eligible for free and reduced-price school meals received free summer meals.

FIND A SITE NEAR YOU

OUR RESPONSE

The Food Depository responds to this need with our Kids Cafe and Lunch Bus sites across Cook County where children can receive free, nutritious meals during the summer. We are a partner in Share Our Strength's Illinois No Kid Hungry campaign and the statewide Summer Meals Illinois campaign to raise awareness of, and participation in, summer meal programs. Summer meals are funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

LUNCH BUS

In June 2010, we launched the Lunch Bus, a mobile meals program to distribute nutritious lunches to children under 18 years old in priority Cook County communities during summer months. Now in its fifth year, we travel to 21 sites every summer weekday serving more than 4,500 meals every week. The meals are prepared by Chicago’s Community Kitchens (CCK), our foodservice job training program.

KIDS CAFE

Kids Cafes provide children with nutritious meals during the summer and after-school, with some sites that run year-round. Kids Cafes are at local community centers, social service agencies, faith-based organizations, YMCAs, park districts, Salvation Army and Boys and Girls Club sites. Some Kids Cafes require enrollment in the host program, but many are open to any child.

HEALTHY KIDS MARKET

Healthy Kids Market is a school-year program that offers a variety of healthy food, including fresh fruit and vegetables and shelf-stable items like pasta, peanut butter, rice and beans. Volunteers and staff from the school unload, set up and operate the pantry. Each school designates a weekly or bi-monthly pantry time and space, such as the cafeteria or an extra classroom.