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Youth Food Programs and Services

Food and support for Chicago and Cook County children, teens and their families.

Nourishing the Future of Our Community

Healthy food is essential to help youth learn, grow and play. We partner with schools and community organizations to ensure that children and teens in our community have the food they need.

Whether you’re in need of fresh food or other resources, we’re here to provide the service you deserve.

Find Food Support for Families

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Find The Support You Need To Thrive

You’re our neighbor, and when you are in need we’re here to find the right solution for you. Discover a variety of programs designed to end hunger and reduce poverty.

One in four Cook County children are at risk of hunger – but no one should go hungry.

Our network of partners is here to help youth and their families. Visit our map to find access to free groceries or a meal at a food pantry or program near you.

School Year Youth Programs

How We Provide Food For Youth During The School Year

We support programs that provide food, support and hope for youth and their families across Chicago and Cook County.

Contact your school district if you are interested in school-based programs including free or reduced-price breakfast or lunch.

Healthy Student Markets

Market-style food distributions located in schools for families who may not be able to visit a traditional food pantry. Families can receive a variety of healthy foods, including fresh produce and shelf-stable items.

College Pantries

To support the increasing number of college students at risk of food insecurity, the Food Depository partners with the City Colleges of Chicago and other colleges to provide access to nutritious food at pantries located on campus.

Kids Cafe®

Kids Cafe® provide healthy meals for children in partnership with after-school programs offering enrichment activities in a safe, nurturing environment. Kids Cafe® is a national initiative of Feeding America administered locally by the Food Depository.

Magaly Castrejon's kids
Magaly Castrejon
mother and Lunch Bus guest

“Sometimes it’s still hard to afford food. That’s why we come here. We really appreciate the food.”

Magaly Castrejon visits the Food Depository’s Lunch Bus in the summers. Having one less meal to provide when her children don’t have access to school meals helps offset food costs for her family.

See how our summer meal programs help families

Magaly Castrejon
mother and Lunch Bus guest

Seasonal Youth Programs

How We Help Youth Access Food During The Summer

During the summer, children and teens who receive free and reduced-price meals at school often lack access to food and go hungry. We work with community organizations to fill the gap and provide access to nutritious food in convenient neighborhood sites such as libraries, parks and community centers.

  • Summer meal sites provide free nutritious meals to children and teens throughout Cook County in partnership with schools and community organizations.
  • Our Lunch Bus mobile meals program travels to convenient neighborhood locations to provide free nutritious lunches throughout Chicago and the suburbs.



Connecting Students With Healthy Breakfasts

The Food Depository works to raise awareness for the importance of school and community meals by increasing participation in school-based meal programming and educating policymakers and the public about its crucial role in youths’ health and academic success.

We advocate for Breakfast After the Bell legislative aiming to increase school breakfast participation by supporting schools across the state with vital nutrition policy.


Nourish The Future Of Our Communities

Community organizations can help ensure no one goes hungry by partnering with us to host programs that give children and families the nutrition and resources they need to learn, grow and play.


Learn How Food Insecurity Affects Children and Families

Hear from your neighbors to find out how hunger affects our communities and how our programs ensure no child goes hungry.

View more stories

The Help You Need Is Here

We’re here to get you the resources you need to thrive. Learn more about programs available to help you and your family with food and benefits.