|One in five children in Cook County don’t know where their next meal is coming from.|
Ismael Garcia and his mother Irma are one of more than 200 families who come to the Healthy Kids Market at Calmeca Academy near Brighton Park each week. The free market, with fresh produce and nonperishable food provided by the Greater Chicago Food Depository, offers low-income families a selection of healthy food items to take home and make wholesome meals for their families.
“A lot of our children come from families that are struggling to eat,” said Calmeca Academy Principal Frances Garcia. “For some of our students, this market is the only access to fruits and veggies they have.”
|Parent volunteers help pass out fresh fruit and veggies at Healthy Kids Markets locations throughout Cook County each week.|
Child food insecurity is an on-going issue in Cook County. The Food Depository, along with Feeding America, just released data showing more than 21 percent of children – 1 in 5 kids – in Cook County are food insecure. Out of eligible Illinois children, only 1 in 6 take advantage of free summer food programs available to them.
Thankfully, this year the Food Depository and other organizations are teaming up with Share Our Strength to raise awareness of free summer meal programs to ensure no child has to go hungry when school is out.
Check out these new tools to find the nearest free summer meal location:
- Text: FoodIL to 877877
- Visit the Share Our Strength online searchable database.
- Download an Android App.
- Call (800) 359-2163
More information visit SummerFoodIllinois.org.