Greater Chicago Food Depository
It’s estimated that one out of six Chicagoans faces hunger every day. This is a shocking statistic about the city that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) calls home. But we at BCBSIL are taking action to help feed Chicago’s hungry, through numerous collaborations with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD).
BCBSIL awarded GCFD $75,000 to support Healthy Kids Markets, which are food pantries located directly in a dozen Chicago Public Schools. Weekly or bi-monthly, volunteers and staff from each school set up and operate a pantry with a variety of healthy foods provided by GCFD. The school-based pantries offer easy access to nutritious foods for families who might not be able to visit traditional food pantries due to location/transportation issues or work hours.
The second Wednesday of every month is BCBSIL Day at GCFD. Teams of employee volunteers sort and pack food at the nonprofit’s giant warehouse on the city’s southwest side. In 2013, 196 BCBSIL employees volunteered 588 hours and packaged or sorted 105,085 pounds of food.
We illuminated our headquarters with the messages “No 1 Hungry” on November 22-24 to help kick off GCFD’s annual 1 City, 1 Food Drive, with the goal of collecting 1 million pounds of food during the holiday season.