The Nourish Project

Our Next Step: Nourish Phase 2

In 2022, we plan to break ground on a 36,700 square-foot facility expansion that will include a commercial kitchen for meal preparation and packaging, a demonstration kitchen for nutrition education, and an expansion of parking for volunteers, guests and our fleet. The new facilities will be constructed to the immediate west of our warehouse and offices on Chicago’s Southwest Side. When fully operational, our expanded facility will have the capacity to prepare and distribute 2.5 million healthy, made-from-scratch meals each year.

Phase II of the Nourish Project also includes a community partnership strategy that aims to increase the total number of healthy meals that will be distributed. As part of our commitment to equity, the Food Depository will purchase meals from local, minority and women-owned businesses and community organizations.


Nourishing the Community

From our new kitchen, we will prepare and distribute made-from-scratch meals to meet the needs of older adults, people with disabilities and individuals with chronic health conditions. Our goal is 10,000 meals daily – 2.5 million meals per year. The Nourish Project also will be a catalyst for economic impact in the communities we serve. The Food Depository will contract with small, minority and women-owned businesses to purchase meals like those we prepare in-house. These meals will be distributed to other priority populations, including families served by pantries, opportunity youth (ages 16 to 24 who are neither enrolled in school or work), people experiencing a housing crisis, and individuals engaged in workforce development programs.

Nourishing Health

Expanding distribution of healthy food is central to the Nourish Project. Research shows that access to nutritious, prepared meals enables individuals to lead healthier lives, which ultimately builds healthier communities. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the number of older adults living on fixed incomes, and facing mobility and health challenges, is expected to significantly increase. By distributing healthy prepared meals tailored to the needs of priority populations, the Food Depository will contribute to breaking the cycle of food insecurity and chronic disease. We also will provide new space for nutrition education programs to benefit community partners and the people we serve.


Nourishing Hope

COVID-19 created a hunger crisis unlike anything we’ve seen in our history as a food bank. Our community’s economic recovery will be long and uneven. But a return to pre-pandemic levels of food insecurity is not acceptable. For generations, the full potential of our community has been limited by inequitable access to healthy food and opportunity.

The Nourish Project aims to change that reality. We will provide more healthy meals every day, connect more of our neighbors with nutrition education and other resources, invest at the local level to drive economic impact, and create jobs that lift families out of poverty.

To learn more about the Nourish Project, visit our FAQ page.



Help Us Respond

The success of the Nourish Project depends on the generosity and partnership of many. The Food Depository is incredibly grateful to those who have already supported this initiative. The expansion of our programs and facilities will be driven by private philanthropy and in-kind contributions. Contact us to find out how you can help advance the Nourish Project.