A long line of people braving the cold while waiting to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables at a Food Depository Producemobile distribution.

People ask us all the time: how can I help? The Greater Chicago Food Depository is humbled by the generosity of individuals, companies and organizations wanting to make an impact in their community. But as record numbers of individuals turn to pantries for food – up 89 percent since five years ago– we need more support than ever as we continue to make a daily impact in 2013.

More than 807,000 men, women and children in Cook County are food insecure – 1 in 6 – unsure of where their next meal will come from. High unemployment and the recovering economy have pushed record numbers of people in Cook County to the point of hunger. Increased demand, rising food prices, fewer donations and limited government food made 2012 a challenging year. Meanwhile, conversations in Washington discuss reducing critical nutrition safety-net programs – potentially limiting or eliminating benefits for thousands of Cook County residents.

We were so fortunate to see a great response from our supporters this holiday season. But the need persists. You can stay involved by volunteering, advocating or making a financial contribution. Help us put food in the table for those in need and make an impact in the fight against hunger in 2013.