Friday, December 21, 2012

Blue Cross Blue Shield takes on hunger this holiday season

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Tower lit up the Chicago skyline last week with an important message on behalf of the Greater Chicago Food Depository: Feed Chicago.

The need is great this holiday season. More that 807,000 men, women and children in Cook County – 1 in 6  – are at risk of hunger. The Food Depository released data this week showing an 89 percent increase in pantry visits over five years.
In an effort to provide relief to struggling Cook County families, BCBSIL employees gathered at their downtown Chicago headquarters last week to assemble emergency food boxes.  More than 150 executive leaders assembled 800 boxes of shelf-stable food items that will provide 3,000 meals for individuals and families across Cook County – including Addie Carter and her daughter Myesha.
Addie, 58, is a cancer survivor from Harvey who was forced to leave her job as a cook after a stroke left her unable to work. She now lives on a low limited fixed income and cares for her 27-year-old daughter with special needs – making it difficult to pay for bills and food.

This Tuesday, Addie and her daughter found relief at the Food Depository’s Producemobile at the True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Dixmoor – where clients received food boxes and frozen turkeys provided by BCBSIL.

“This is blessing,” said Addie. “You don’t know despair until you have no food in your house. Tonight I won’t have to worry about what my family is going to eat.”

A special thanks to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois for supporting the Food Depository in the fight against hunger in our community. Learn more on how you can make in impact in your community by visiting

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"You never think you will be here."

“You never think you will be here until you are here,” said Graciela Cruz, as she stood in line at the True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in Dixmoor. Despite the bitter cold weather, the young mother from Blue Island arrived early with her 18-month-old son Stephen to get in line with more than 180 others for the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Producemobile distribution on Dec. 18.

The need across Cook County remains at record levels as Food Depository member agencies are seeing more individuals than ever before – with some pantries serving twice the amount of clients they served a few years ago. Newly released data shows pantries recorded 1.95 million visits from July to October this year, a new organizational record for that period. Overall the Food Depository has seen an 89 percent increase in the number of pantry visits in five years.

The record comes as the Food Depository, and food banks nationwide, face increasing challenges in food sourcing due to rising food prices, fewer food donations and limited government food – making every donation to the Food Depository even more critical.

Thanks to the generosity of Food Depository donors and volunteers, Graciela and her son went home with a box of fresh produce, a box of nonperishable food items and a frozen turkey. “It has been a tough couple of months but it is great to know we have help. Thank you for helping my family,” said Graciela.

No one should go hungry this holiday season. Every contribution to the Food Depository puts food on the table for individuals and families in our community.

Make a donation today.