Programs for Older Adults
Too many older adults in Cook County face challenges that limit their ability to obtain or prepare food, including limited budgets, declining mobility and medical issues. A 2012 study conducted for the Greater Chicago Food Depository by the Social IMPACT Research Center found that more than 183,000 older adults in Cook County are at risk of hunger. The Food Depository has several programs that address the needs of food-insecure older adults.
Older adult Choice Markets are distributions of both shelf-stable items and fresh produce that allow older adults to choose their own assortment of fresh fruit, vegetables and nonperishable food. Choice Markets also offer periodic SNAP Outreach services, monthly cooking and nutrition demonstrations, socialization and volunteer opportunities and an entry point to other wellness services. Choice Markets take place at community-based residential buildings and senior centers.
Partial Choice Markets
Every month, the Food Depository distributes thousands of pre-packed boxes of shelf-stable food to older adults at senior sites – primarily residential buildings. This program helps ease tight grocery budgets and increases the ability of older adults to cook and eat meals independently in their homes. In 2013, Partial Choice Markets started distributing fresh produce to supplement the pre-packed boxes.
In addition to Choice and Partial Choice Markets, Food Depository volunteer drivers deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to 40 older adult buildings every month.
With a grant from AgeOptions, the Food Depository launched a pilot program in 2012 at Cicero’s Clyde Park to serve nutritious hot meals to both older adults and children. This program is open every weeknight to adults over 60 and children under 18.