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Hunger Beat

Ways to give this holiday season

Every holiday season, our community steps up to ensure families across Cook County have somewhere to turn to put food on the table.

But with the pandemic causing a greater need than ever before, our neighbors are – and will continue to be – at increased risk of hunger this winter.

Whether it’s through financial support, or volunteering your time, here are a few ways you can still include giving back in your holiday plans.


The gift of giving:

Consider a tribute or memorial gift for those on your holiday gift list. It’s also a way to help feed families while honoring a special occasion or a loved one’s memory. For businesses navigating the work-from-home era, tribute gifts can also recognize employees or clients in lieu of a holiday party.


Check out these helpful giving tools:

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:

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

Virtual food drives are not only great for social distancing, they allow the Food Depository to directly purchase our most needed items, including fresh produce. They also help us best stretch your dollars – every $1 can help provide food for three meals.


Volunteer your time:
A volunteer follows safety precautions in the Food Depository warehouse

The Food Depository has added additional safety precautions to keep volunteers safe, including mask-wearing and social distancing. (photo by Kenneth Johnson for the Food Depository)

Volunteering is considered an essential service during stay-at-home advisories and orders. Throughout the pandemic, community members have still been coming to the Food Depository nearly every day to help pack food. Staff have implemented additional safety precautions, including mask requirements and new configurations to keep people six feet apart. Register for a volunteer session.


Participate in fundraising campaigns:

Helping neighbors in need while shopping for groceries or even ordering pizza for the family. Fundraising campaigns combine community service with your everyday activities. Check out our list of holiday campaigns and events.


Shop at our store:
An assortment of the Food Depository's face masks

Proceeds from the Food Depository’s store, which sells items like the face masks pictured here, benefit the Food Depository.

Buy Food Depository merch, including our new fruit and veggie-themed face masks, for yourself or as a gift. Net profits support the Food Depository.

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