In 2001, produce delivery to neighborhoods in need expanded as the Greater Chicago Food Depository launched the Producemobile. This single "farmer's market on wheels" quickly became an important addition to Food Depository services. With food distribution needs rising, a second Producemobile took to the streets of Chicago in 2005. These brightly colored, beverage-style trucks take donated fresh fruits and vegetables directly to hundreds of hungry people across Chicago on a weekly basis. Many of these individuals live in areas where produce is difficult or costly to obtain.
The Producemobiles enhance our mission while streamlining the delivery process and reducing the strain on member agencies to secure transportation. In addition, Producemobiles allow for a decrease in collection and distribution time, while increasing the amount, variety and nutritional value of food assistance available to hungry people in Cook County.
The first Producemobile was made possible by grants through The UPS Foundation and Kraft Foods and the second Producemobile was supported by grants through the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust and the Chicago Tribune Charities, a fund of the McCormick Tribune Foundation.
The Mobile Pantry program, launched in 2007, distributes nonperishable food and perishable food to six sites each month. The Mobile Pantry brings food to communities that have a high concentration of poverty but relatively low levels of Food Depository food assistance, as identified by the 2006 Cook County Unmet Need Study. The program aims to serve working people by delivering food on nights and weekends—when food assistance typically is not available.
The Food Rescue program retrieves from more than 140 retail grocer locations throughout Cook County perishable, nonperishable and frozen foods that have reached their sell-by dates. Using refrigerated trucks, our food sanitation-trained drivers redistribute these items—from packaged produce, meats and poultry to canned goods, dairy and bakery goods—to provide nutritious foods to our member pantries, shelters and soup kitchens.
As a result of the Food Rescue program, more than 5.3 million pounds of food was turned into meals for Cook County's hungry last year. These food donations provide our soup kitchens, shelters and pantries with easy-to-serve, nutritious food for their clients.
|The Charter One Foundation is the lead corporate supporter of the Food Depository's Mobile Programs.|