Executive Director & CEO
Kate Maehr has led the Greater Chicago Food Depository in its mission to provide food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community since 2006. In this role, she has guided a number of strategic initiatives and accomplishments to distribute nutritious food across Cook County while addressing the root causes of hunger.
Under Kate’s leadership, the Food Depository has expanded operations and distribution to meet tremendous rising demand. As need grew following the Great Recession, the Food Depository increased its food distribution by more than 20 million pounds.
While still developing new programs to better serve priority populations, Kate has also overseen the creation and growth of innovation at the Food Depository.
Programs & Initiatives
- 2007, the Mobile Pantry program was launched to distribute fresh and shelf-stable food to communities with high need and limited local resources.
- 2009, the Food Depository began offering SNAP Outreach services to help families and individuals apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps).
- 2010, the Food Depository launched its Lunch Bus program to deliver nutritious lunches to children during the summer months.
- 2013, the Food Depository partnered with Jesse Brown VA Medical Center to open one of the nation’s first food pantries in a VA hospital.
- 2014, the VA program model was replicated at Hines VA Hospital.
- Recently, a partnership was developed with a local community health network to connect food insecure patients with nutritious food resources.
Kate is an active participant and leading voice in the fight to end hunger.
- Co-chair, Illinois Commission to End Hunger
- Board member, Feeding America
- Board member, Feeding Illinois (the state’s coalition of food banks)
- Member, State of Illinois Social Services Advisory Council.
- Member, Economic Club of Chicago
- Member, The Chicago Network.
She has been called to testify before Congress and the Illinois General Assembly. In 2013, Feeding America presented Kate with the Dick Goebel Public Service Award, which is given annually to one individual in the national network of food banks.
Kate holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Wisconsin. She received honorary degrees from Knox College in 2011 and DePaul University in 2015.