Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hunger affects both young and old

Marcella Rucker (left) enjoys dinner with her grandchildren at the Food Depository's Clyde Park Pilot Program.
Marcella Rucker can't help but smile as she sits down to a meal with her grandchildren, a meal made possible by the Greater Chicago Food Depository

Marcella and her family are one of dozens of grandparents and grandchildren who gather Monday through Friday for a free meal at the Clyde Park District of Cicero. The dinner is part of a Food Depository pilot program that provides healthy, nutritious meals for local older adults 60 years and older and children under the age of 18.

"The pilot program was created in response to the growing number of grandparents raising grandchildren or grandparents who play a larger financial role in caring for their grandchildren in Cook County," said Adam McGriffin, Older Adult Services Coordinator for the Food Depository. 

Two recent studies show children and older adults are populations susceptible to hunger and food insecurity in Cook County: 
  • A Feeding America study released last week found 1 in 5 children in Cook County is food insecure and doesn't know when or where they will receive their next meal. 
  • A Food Depository commissioned study released last month, shows 89 percent of federal food assistance for low-income older adults in Chicago and 92 percent in suburban Cook County comes from SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps).
Larry Starnes and his grandson attend the Clyde Park District Pilot Porgram nightly.

"The meal means a lot to me and my grandson," said Larry Starnes.  He and his grandson try to make the Clyde Park District meal as much as they can.  "We are so thankful for it.  It is one thing for you to go to bed hungry, but it is hard to see my grandson hungry.  This really helps us all get by."

For more information on Food Depository programs for older adults and children visit or call 773-247-FOOD.

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