We are committed to providing food and support for Cook County veterans. We respond to hunger among those who have served through a variety of innovative programs and partnerships.
Over 16,000 veterans in Cook County live below the poverty line and 18% of households who receive assistance from the Food Depository include someone who served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The Food Depository responds to veterans struggling with hunger and poverty by providing nutritious food and connections to additional resources.
VA Food Pantries
On Veterans Day 2013, the Food Depository opened a food pantry at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago. One of the only VA pantries in the country and the first of its kind in Illinois, the pantry is a collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs, AmeriCorps and the Food Depository. In November, 2014, the Food Depository again collaborated with the VA and AmeriCorps to open Cook County’s second veterans’ food pantry at Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital.
These innovative VA food pantries are the first to be housed in Illinois VA facilities. Each month they distribute fresh produce, meat, and nonperishable food items to approximately 2,500 veterans.
Veterans Stand Down Events
Twice a year, the Food Depository participates in multi-day Veterans events called Stand Downs. Veterans experiencing homelessness receive food, overnight shelter, medical care, clothing, and other assistance. At these events, the Food Depository serves hot meals prepared by Chicago’s Community Kitchen. Additionally, we provide bags of nonperishable food and fresh produce to veterans at the events. More than 700 veterans receive services at each Stand Down event.
Benefits Outreach for Veterans
The Food Depository is committed to connecting veterans to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This program helps individuals and families afford food. More than 49,000 veterans in Illinois receive SNAP benefits. Our SNAP Outreach team regularly visits the Jesse Brown VA and Edward Hines, Jr. VA to provide information, application assistance, and follow-up support for veterans eligible for SNAP.