Hunger in our community is changing. Find out how we are responding through facility upgrades and expanded services.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository is proud to announce its plan to build a new meal preparation kitchen to produce nutritious, high-quality meals for older adults, people with disabilities and, eventually, other populations at high risk of food insecurity.
The Need for Prepared Meals
Our bold new plan for a meal preparation kitchen addresses an expanding need. See what we’ve learned in our research.
Nourish Phase 2: Common Questions
While the COVID-19 crisis has affected our timeline for groundbreaking, this situation has reinforced the importance of home-delivered meals and accessible nutrition resources. COVID-19 has also emphasized the health disparities that communities of color face. We are adapting our plans to ensure we meet these emerging needs:
- Workforce development will remain a priority: We know that full economic recovery from COVID-19 will take years. By making job training and transitional employment available, we will ensure that more of our neighbors have the resources they need to thrive.
- Equity and our target populations: People with disabilities, people of color, and older adults have all experienced unique barriers to food access during the pandemic. Our Nourish campaign strives to meet the needs of these target populations, now and in the future.
The new 40,000-square-foot meal preparation kitchen will be built on the vacant lot just west of the Food Depository facility in Archer Heights. The Food Depository recently acquired the land, which was previously owned by the BNSF railroad.
This bold programmatic evolution will holistically combine meal production, workforce development and nutrition education. We will produce meals that will be home-delivered – either by the Food Depository or partners – to older adults and people with disabilities.
Once fully operational, the meal preparation facility will produce more than 4 million meals a year.
With this expansion, the Food Depository will offer transitional jobs through its Chicago’s Community Kitchens job training
program, which has connected students to employment in the food industry for more than 20 years. The expanded campus will also feature an urban garden.
Simply put, it’s difficult for many older adults and people with disabilities to leave their homes to acquire food and prepare their own meals.
The need for prepared meals is projected to increase dramatically with the expected growth in the older adult population.
As the Baby Boomer generation continues to move past the age of 64, the number of older adults living on fixed incomes, and facing mobility and health challenges, is expected to significantly increase. Recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that the older adult population (65 and older) in Cook County may increase by 48% by 2030.
The building of the facility and expansion of programming is estimated to cost about $50 million.
The success of the project will largely depend on the support of our community.
We have postponed groundbreaking due to the COVID-19 crisis. As we advance our plans, we are incorporating learnings from this crisis to ensure long-term impact.