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Hunger Beat

Ways to give back during the holidays

Every holiday season, our community gives back to help people in need and families facing hunger across Chicago and Cook County.

But with decades-high inflation making it even harder for many to afford groceries, many thousands of our neighbors are at increased risk of food insecurity this winter.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository’s mission is to end hunger. Every day, we connect our neighbors with healthy food and work to end hunger for a stronger shared future. We partner with a network of community-based organizations to address the root causes of hunger – poverty, systemic inequity and structural racism. But we can’t do it alone – we need your help.

Only a hunger-free community can really be healthy. When we help feed our neighbors, we truly become a greater Chicago.

Whether it’s through financial support or volunteering your time, here are a few ways to give back during the holidays:

The gift of giving to help people in need

Father and son

1 in 4 children is facing hunger right now. You can help.

You can help provide food for our neighbors in need this holiday season. Make a gift today.

You can also consider a tribute or memorial gift for those on your holiday gift list. It’s a special way to help feed families while celebrating a special occasion or honoring a loved one’s memory. Send your tribute donation by email.

Helpful giving tools to give back this holiday season

Donor advised funds, an increasingly popular giving tool, is like a savings account for charitable giving. You can contribute to the trust over time and recommend which organizations receive distributions. Gifts to your donor advised fund qualify for federal income tax deductions.

Donors who are 70 and a half or older can also support the cause through donations directly from a traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). These gifts to qualifying organizations – like the Food Depository – count toward required minimum distributions from the IRA and are not subject to income tax for any amount up to $100,000 per year.

Learn more about IRA and other and other planned giving options, or donor-advised funds.

Start a food drive to feed our neighbors


Virtual food drives allow the Food Depository to purchase its most-needed items, including fresh produce.

Virtual food drives are a great way to involve your family, friends or coworkers to end hunger. Not only is a virtual food drive an easy and fun way to work together to help your community, virtual food drives also allow the Food Depository to directly purchase our most needed items, including fresh produce. Virtual food drives also help us best stretch your dollars – every $1 can help provide food for three meals. Start a virtual food drive now.

Holiday volunteer opportunities in Chicago


Volunteering is a great way to support your community during the holiday season and beyond.

You can support our neighbors across Chicago and Cook County by signing up to volunteer. Families, groups of friends or coworkers, or individuals can get involved to make an impact in your community.

There are many different volunteer opportunities to engage with this holiday season. Volunteer sessions during the holidays fill up fast, but help is also needed year-round. If a repack session is full, join the waitlist – or sign up to volunteer in the new year! Register for a volunteer session.

Help families facing hunger when you shop or dine

You can help neighbors in need while buying groceries, shopping for gifts or even ordering coffee! Fundraising campaigns combine community service with your everyday activities. Check out our list of holiday campaigns and events.

Shop our store for gifts that give back

Food Depository store merch

Proceeds from the Food Depository's store benefit the Food Depository.

Give a gift that gives back this holiday shipping when you buy Food Depository merch for your friends and family. Find apparel and accessories for the next time you volunteer together – or show your community you care – with items that support your community. And right now, receive free shipping on orders over $50! Net profits support the Food Depository.


No matter how you get involved this holiday season, your support helps the Food Depository connect our neighbors with healthy food and advance solution that address the root causes of hunger. We are so grateful for all of our supporters who are helping us end hunger across Chicago and Cook County.

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