The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Tower lit up the Chicago skyline last week with an important message on behalf of the Greater Chicago Food Depository: Feed Chicago.

The need is great this holiday season. More that 807,000 men, women and children in Cook County – 1 in 6  – are at risk of hunger. The Food Depository released data this week showing an 89 percent increase in pantry visits over five years.

In an effort to provide relief to struggling Cook County families, BCBSIL employees gathered at their downtown Chicago headquarters last week to assemble emergency food boxes.  More than 150 executive leaders assembled 800 boxes of shelf-stable food items that will provide 3,000 meals for individuals and families across Cook County – including Addie Carter and her daughter Myesha.

Addie, 58, is a cancer survivor from Harvey who was forced to leave her job as a cook after a stroke left her unable to work. She now lives on a low limited fixed income and cares for her 27-year-old daughter with special needs – making it difficult to pay for bills and food.

This Tuesday, Addie and her daughter found relief at the Food Depository’s Producemobile at the True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Dixmoor – where clients received food boxes and frozen turkeys provided by BCBSIL.

“This is blessing,” said Addie. “You don’t know despair until you have no food in your house. Tonight I won’t have to worry about what my family is going to eat.”

A special thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for supporting the Food Depository in the fight against hunger in our community. Learn more on how you can make in impact in your community by visiting chicagosfoodbank.org.