As our neighbors continued to navigate life amid the COVID-19 pandemic, so did the Food Depository and our network of community partners.

In fiscal year 2021, the need for emergency food assistance consistently remained above pre-pandemic levels. As a result, the Food Depository distributed more food than ever in its 42-year history.

Food pantries and meal programs across Cook County are still supporting families dealing with the economic fallout caused by business closures, layoffs, school closures and other COVID-caused setbacks. We and our partners expect to serve these elevated numbers for months, and in some cases years, to come.

Uplifting our community through this crisis and beyond requires more than providing food. According to Monica Moss, chair of the Food Depository’s board of directors, it requires a shift in perspective – addressing hunger through the lens of social justice and equity.

“We’re seeing something special transpire at the Food Depository as we are looking at how we’re responding to need. We are having to push ourselves to become more than we ever imagined that we could. We truly have become more than a food bank. We’re helping to empower communities.”

Monica Moss, Food Depository board chair

Monica Moss
Monica Moss, board chair

In fiscal year 2021, the Food Depository distributed the equivalent of 97.5 million meals. That record-setting amount is 25% more than last fiscal year’s historic total. A quarter of the food distributed was produce.

The Food Depository’s staff also put an increased emphasis on sourcing local and culturally relevant foods to best serve the diverse landscape of people in need while supporting economic opportunity in our community. The Food Depository also continued to connect thousands of people to needed benefits and expanded our job training programs, further addressing the root causes of hunger.

None of this historic work would be possible without supporters like you. We are grateful for your continued help through this ongoing crisis.