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How does an organization feed more than 800,000 people each year and tackle the root causes of hunger? Since 1979, the Greater Chicago Food Depository—a Trust grant recipient that addresses hunger and food insecurity—has combined genuine concern for neighbors in need with a remarkable ability to adapt in service of its mission.

When the federal government shut down in early 2019, the Food Depository worked with support from the Trust to ensure TSA officers and other federal workers had access to food. When the research they took on with Trust funding showed individuals with disabilities experience barriers to food pantries, the organization began taking steps to make food more accessible for this population.

Because food insecurity is inextricably linked to health and education outcomes, the Food Depository has embraced collaborations beyond traditional food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to include schools, neighborhood clinics, libraries and more. It also uses its voice to advocate for policies and programs that help alleviate and end hunger, such as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“The Greater Chicago Food Depository was founded to end hunger in our community, and one way we do that is by tackling the root causes of hunger. That means really looking at the systems and inequities that contribute to higher levels of food insecurity in certain parts of Chicago,” says Executive Director and CEO Kate Maehr. “We’re grateful to the Trust for supporting organizations like ours that address critical needs and create lasting change for the communities we serve.”