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Hunger Beat

Ways to give this holiday season

In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s important to remember our neighbors in need.

The Food Depository remains dedicated as ever to ensure the hundreds of thousands of people in Cook County struggling with food access know they have somewhere to turn this time of year. Whether it’s through donations or time dedicated to the cause, here are a few ways you can participate in the season of giving.

Josiah, 18 months, and his mother received support from one of the Food Depository's partner agencies.

Eighteen-month-old Josiah and his mother received support from one of the Food Depository's partner agencies. (Photo by Nancy Stone for the Food Depository).

Check out these helpful giving tools

The Food Depository accepts gifts through donor-advised funds (DAF). This increasingly popular giving tool is like a savings account for charitable giving. You can contribute to the fund 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 traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). These gifts to a qualifying organization – 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.

Visit our Planned Giving site to discover more about IRA and other planned giving options, or learn more about donor-advised funds here.

Virtual food drives allow the Food Depository to directly buy the most needed foods, particularly fresh produce. (Photo by Alyssa Schukar for the Food Depository)

Start a food drive

Virtual food drives allow the Food Depository to directly purchase our most needed items, including fresh produce. They also allow us to stretch your gifts; every $1 can help provide food for three meals.

To organize or participate, go to

Participate in fundraising campaigns

Supporting the Food Depository can also be as simple as shopping for groceries, running a 5K, or ordering out at a restaurant. With the help of local partners, fundraising campaigns bring community service directly into your holiday activities.

From Nov. 1-30, make a donation at a Mariano’s register in Cook County to benefit the Food Depository. The Grand Giving Campaign is organized by professional baseball player Curtis Granderson and his Grand Kids Foundation. Through the end of December, Whole Foods shoppers who bring their own reusable bags to participating Chicago stores can donate their 10-cent-per-bag refund to the Food Depository.

On Nov. 28, the annual Turkey Trot Chicago will once again benefit the Food Depository via cash donations made upon registration and canned food donations on the day of the event.

Learn more about these and other holiday campaigns and events.

Shop at our store

Still looking for that perfect gift? Our new online store has clothes, bags, and other merch for kids and adults featuring our new logo – as well as some of our punny fruit and veggie art. Net profits support the Food Depository.

Volunteers are a driving force in the Food Depository's mission to end hunger in Cook County.
(Photo by Alyssa Schukar for the Food Depository)

Volunteer your time

There are many ways to support our mission. Volunteers are an integral part of daily operations. Check our volunteer page to find opportunities for individuals, groups and families to participate.

Our advocates also work alongside staff to support federal and state policies that prevent hunger and its root causes. Sign up for our latest action alerts.

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