A person selects food from boxes at a Healthy Student Market

The Need for Food Assistance in Cook County

Our Recent Studies
The Need for Nutritious Prepared Meals

In 2019, the Food Depository partnered with more than 20 community partners on a study about the need for prepared meals in our community. Older adults with low incomes and people with disabilities provided insight on their dietary needs and interest in prepared meals.

Many people who struggle with food insecurity also struggle to manage meal preparation. Special dietary and health concerns affect these populations.

Read the Report

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Food Insecurity Among Adults with Disabilities

Living with a disability is one of the strongest factors that affects a household’s food security. Low-income adults with disabilities face many obstacles to adequate nutrition. In 2017, the Greater Chicago Food Depository released a report on food insecurity among adults with disabilities in Cook County.

Read the Report

Map the Meal Gap

Feeding America, the national network of food banks, releases an annual study on local food insecurity. General food insecurity rates and child food insecurity rates at the county, congressional district, and state level are available through their interactive Map the Meal Gap tool.

Hunger in America 2014

The Food Depository partnered with Feeding America for the Hunger in America 2014 study, a comprehensive research effort about emergency food assistance. Hunger in America 2014 captured detailed information about who needs food assistance, what circumstances they face, and how the Food Depository responds to the need. Key findings from this report are listed below. View the full report.

The need in Cook County remains high
  • Every year, 1 in 6 of our neighbors—or 812,100 people—receives food from one of the Food Depository’s member agency grocery or meal programs.
  • The Food Depository serves more than 232,100 households annually.
  • 68 % of programs reported an increase in volume of clients over the last 12 months.
  • 69 % of client households have incomes that fall at or below the federal poverty level.
  • 54 % percent of client households have annual incomes of $10,000 or less.
The faces of hunger
  • 91% of clients have a roof over their heads.
  • 57% of client households include at least one person who has been employed in the last 12 months.
  • 39% of client households include at least one person who has been employed in the last four weeks.
  • 25 % of clients have some college experience beyond a high school degree or two year college.
  • 35% of clients reported a household member with disabilities and 60% a household member with high blood pressure.
National results illustrate significant need
  • 46 million people in the United States—1 in 7—receive emergency food assistance through Feeding America’s network of 200 food banks each year.
  • 12 million children and 7 million older adults receive food assistance annually in the U.S.
  • 20% of households served by Feeding America food banks nationwide have at least one member that has served in the military.