Most of the grant funding will go to partners in Black and Latino communities hit hard by COVID-19.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository announced last week a second round of emergency grants totaling more than $1.3 million for partners to offset costs related to the ongoing pandemic response.
This latest round of grants, largely made possible by state funding, follows the first $1 million round of grants announced in early April. It brings the total to more than $2.3 million in emergency support to our community partners. About 67 percent of the funds will be allocated to partners serving Black and Latino communities throughout Cook County that are disproportionately affected by food insecurity.
The vast majority of the grant funds will be distributed by the end of July.
The grants are intended to help offset rising costs due the dramatic increase in need for food assistance brought on by the pandemic. The state of Illinois is providing $942,000 of the second round of grant funding. The rest is made possible by the Food Depository’s generous donors.
“We are immensely grateful for the Illinois Department of Human Services for helping to alleviate poverty and food insecurity during the pandemic,” said Kate Maehr, the Food Depository’s executive director and CEO. “And we are just in awe of the outpouring of support from our donors. We will continue to need your help in this ongoing crisis.”
The increase in the number of people seeking emergency food assistance during the pandemic has been unprecedented.
The Food Depository’s network of food pantries and similar programs is serving an average of 120 percent more people in need when compared to January figures, according to our latest data.
Black and Latino communities on Chicago’s South and West Sides, and in the south and western suburbs, have been the hardest hit by the combination of COVID-19 and food insecurity. To respond to that grim reality, the Food Depository has also launched new pop-up food distributions in partnership with faith and community groups. The Food Depository has also allocated the majority of grant funds to support partners in those communities.
Every Food Depository partner site will receive a minimum of $1,500 and up to $7,000. The exact amount will be determined based upon frequency of food distributions, increase in demand during the pandemic and financial need.
To be clear, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating and is expected to be long-lasting. The Food Depository will need the continued support of its generous donors and volunteers to help ensure that none of our neighbors goes hungry. Together, we can emerge from this crisis as a greater Chicago.