FIGHTING HUNGER AMONG VETERANS
In Cook County, there are more than 18,000 veterans living below the poverty line. Further, 18 percent of the households receiving food assistance in our community include someone who is serving or has served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans are a priority community for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. We are committed to providing food and support for Cook County’s veterans, through a variety of innovative programs and partnerships.
VA Food Pantries
On Veterans Day 2013, the Food Depository opened a food pantry at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. The pantry is a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs, AmeriCorps and the Food Depository. It is the first food pantry for veterans at a VA facility in Illinois and one of the only VA pantries in the country.
In November, 2014, the Food Depository again collaborated with the VA and AmeriCorps to open Cook County's second veterans food pantry at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital.
These two VA pantries distribute fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and nonperishable food to nearly 400 veterans per week. The pantries are managed by an AmeriCorps member who is also a veteran. The pantry at Jesse Brown VA distributes every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Hines VA pantry distributes every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Veterans Stand Down
Semi-annual veterans Stand Downs are multi-day events that provide homeless veterans with food, overnight shelter, clothing, medical care and more. The Food Depository serves hot meals prepared by Chicago’s Community Kitchens at Stand Downs, in addition to providing veterans a bag of shelf stable food and fresh produce before they leave.
Veterans SNAP Outreach
The Food Depository is committed to connecting veterans to Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. SNAP Outreach coordinators regularly visit Jesse Brown VA and Edward Hines, Jr. VA to provide SNAP information, application assistance and follow-up to veterans. Veterans can also call the Food Depository’s SNAP Outreach hotline at 773-843-5416 to get application assistance over the phone.