EVANSTON, Ill. - The Greater Chicago Food Depository says hunger is a widespread issue in the Chicago area. The nonprofit is dedicated to making sure families have what they need.
The Depository's produce mobile makes two stops a day every weekday, and ABC7's Hosea Sanders caught up with it in Evanston.
With 16,000 pounds of food packed and ready to go, not even bitter cold temperatures could stop the delivery from reaching its destination.
The Depository's produce mobile is a farmer's market on wheels, delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need.
"We know that there are areas throughout out our community where there is a high level of need but a relatively low availability of fresh produce. So we look at that unmet need and we send mobile distribution to areas where there might not be a traditional food pantry," said Jim Conwell, Director of Communications, Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The truck is stocked with enough produce to hand out to 150 to 300 families. The Depository keeps a consistent drop off schedule year round because the need goes far beyond the holiday season.
"Hunger exists in every season and the cold weather certainly makes thigs a lot tougher for families who are struggling to make ends meet, pay bills and put food on the table," Conwell said.
The depository has a lot of helping hands from the community. Volunteers are on hand despite the cold to help their fellow neighbors.
"There's a lot of hungry people out there and if we can get them healthy food I think that's a real important thing to do," said Bruce Gaede, volunteer, St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Evanston.
Help is greatly appreciated by all the families that stop by.
"Because people like me stop working and then we get some help getting this food. It is important because we bring some extra food to our house, our homes and the kids they love it because everything is so good. We really enjoy it. It's helpful to all the families and I guess to all the families that come here and take some away," said Gabriel Rodriguez, participant.
The Northern Illinois Food bank has a similar operation for families outside of Cook County, which ABC7 Eyewitness News will feature later this week. ABC7 has partnered with both the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank for the "Share the Joy" virtual food drive.
To donate to the Greater Chicago Food Depository, go to http://chicagosfoodbank.org/ShareTheJoy. To donate to the Northern Illinois Food Bank, go to www.SolveHungerToday.org/ShareTheJoy.