By Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO
Our work at the Food Depository often takes me to new and surprising places. From our agency sites across Cook County to the halls of the State Capitol, our shared mission to end hunger takes place in a range of locations. I joined three of my colleagues on the last day of August for an early morning trip to Dickeyville, Wisconsin, where we met up with Steve Koch, a longtime supporter.
Before Steve Koch served as Deputy Mayor of Chicago, he was a member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s board. I value Steve’s passion for addressing the most challenging issues facing our city, particularly the ongoing issue of child hunger. We believe that no child should ever have to worry about their next meal – and we know the solution is within reach. With increased awareness, additional support and a collective will to reach every child in need, we can change this reality.
To mark his retirement from City Hall, Steve set out on a ride to raise awareness about child hunger right here in Chicago. Biking from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico along the Mississippi River, Steve aims to raise enough funding to provide 3 million meals for Chicago’s children. With this ambitious goal, every mile of the ride represents 1,200 meals for children who need them to grow up healthy and strong. With that purpose in mind, my colleagues and I loaded our bikes into a van and set out to meet Steve in Dickeyville, Wisconsin, just across the Illinois border.
After breakfast at a local diner, we set out along rural roads for a 27-mile ride to Galena, IL. For those of us who are more familiar with biking on the flat paths of Chicago, the rolling hills were an adjustment: we got a crash course in shifting gears. The ride took us past thick fields of corn and soybeans, as well as small dairy farms with grazing cows in the fields. The sight of these abundant crops was yet another reminder of our purpose: to provide nutritious meals and paths out of poverty for our neighbors.
Steve’s ride will provide a lifetime of memories – and a lasting impact for the children in every community in Cook County who struggle with uncertainty about their next meal. In contentious and confusing times, we can all agree that no child should ever face hunger.