Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Information
The Food Depository prioritizes the health and safety of our community, volunteers and staff. We are taking extra precautions around our facility, and we are prepared to respond to increased needs for food related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
If You Need Food
- Food pantries are available: The majority of our partner agencies and programs remain open. Find a food program here. We recommend calling before you go to confirm program hours and requirements.
- Food assistance is an essential service. The Food Depository and community partners throughout our network will stay open during the Illinois ‘Stay-at-Home’ order. While some programs have temporarily closed, we’re working closely with our network to support continued operations.
- Neighborhood pop-ups: We are working with partners to add pop-up pantry sites on Chicago’s South and West Sides. See the latest pop-up pantry schedule here.
- Meals for children: Many schools are providing take-home meals that families can pick up. Some schools are providing multiple days’ worth of food. Call your child’s school or visit this Chicago Public Schools page for more details.
- Parents and caregivers can also text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find their nearest meal sites. Please call the number provided or check your school district’s website and social media to confirm details.
P-EBT is a benefit that can help buy food for school-age children between the ages of 3-17 and youth aged 18-22 (in high school). P-EBT is available for children and youth who would receive free and reduced-price meals if schools were in session. Apply online for P-EBT at abe.illinois.gov or call our hotline at 773-843-5416 for help. Review and share our guide for help understanding P-EBT.
- Public benefits: Our Benefits Outreach team can help you apply for SNAP and Medicaid and make referrals for other public benefits. Learn more here.
- Visit our community partners, not our facility: The Food Depository distributes food through a network of community partners. We do not give out food at our facility. If you need food today, call 773-247-3663 or 311 for help finding food.
How You Can Help
- Volunteer in our warehouse: Volunteers aged 16 and up are needed to pack food boxes. Volunteering is an essential service during Illinois’ “Stay-at-Home” order. Sign up here for volunteer sessions.
- Make a donation: While all support is appreciated, financial support lets us use your gift to meet the greatest needs. A donation of any amount helps us continue to respond.
- Thank you to the corporations, foundations, individuals and families who have already made an impact by making a donation. See some of our major supporters.
- Sign up for our email list to stay informed on our latest news and updates.
- Watch and share our response in the news.
- Emergency operating grants are available. The Food Depository and our network have faced significant unplanned costs as we respond to the increased need.
- To offset some expenses for our partners, grants are available to food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters still operating their services during the COVID-19 outbreak. These grants were announced to our network April 8. Initial applications are due by April 17. If your agency has questions, contact our Community Relations team. (Updated April 10)
- Food safety best practices are effective at helping keep people safe. See our food safety notes and resources here.
- Please read our communication to the network here. This document includes recommendations for serving our community while protecting the health and safety of everyone involved in food distributions. (Updated March 12)
Volunteering and Events
- The safety of our staff, volunteers and community remains our highest priority. We are taking extra precautions, including increased cleaning and sanitizing of our facility.
- All Chicago’s Community Kitchens training and information sessions are currently on hold. Please check this page for updates on when the program is expected to resume. (Updated March 16)
- At this time, volunteer sessions are planned to run as scheduled. We have updated the volunteer repack schedule to allow for two repacks a day. See the schedule here.
- We are setting up volunteer projects to allow social distancing.
- We are asking volunteers and staff to stay home if they experience any symptoms of illness. We are not permitting anyone with a known risk of COVID-19 infection in our facility at this time.
- We have postponed the Chicago Commercial Real Estate Awards Dinner – our largest annual fundraising event – which was scheduled for March 19. We look forward to rescheduling this event for a later date in 2020.