The economic downturn is making it harder for many to feed their families.
The food depository says there has been a big jump in demand for help at area food banks. That's expected to go up as the holiday season approaches. And they need more supplies to meet the demand.
The number of people turning to pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in Cook County has gone up 30 percent over the past year, according to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The demand increases as food prices soar. The rising cost of food is making it harder for many working people who are trying to make ends meet.
The Greater Chicago Food Depository distributes more than 46 million pounds of food each year. Chicago lung specialist Dr. Anas Nahhas volunteers every two weeks to come to the depository to purchase food for a Bridgeview food pantry.
"The demand is increasing, like, 300 times now," said Nahhas.
On Wednesday, the food depository is distributing more than 130 pounds of food to Chicago's hungry.
The depository feeds more than 500,000 hungry men, women and children annually.
"Across the board, we've seen an increase of 30 percent in the number of people turning to pantries and food kitchens. For people living paycheck to paycheck, the added cost of food and fuel, these are the things that can really make it difficult," said Bob Dolgan, Greater Chicago Food Depository.
The Noble Evangelistic Ministries' Mother Jones Food Pantry joined the Chicago food depository in August and has already run out of its quota of food for the month. Pastor Virgil Jones says all he has is a few cans of peaches to give out to the hungry families.
"An elderly lady said she bought three cans of cat food to survive on. Kids (are) telling me that they only eat lunch at school, once during the day and after that they have no other food to eat at home," Jones said.
Pastor Jones showed the bills he is receiving from the Greater Chicago Food Depository and how he owes them more than $700 and must pay them before he can receive more food.
Dolgan says much of the food is given away for free. They charge 7 cents a pound for perishables. He added that they provide consultation, training and financial management to the pantries that need it. Dolgan said that Noble Evangelistic Ministries owes more than $432 and just received food October 17. They have met with the pantry and will have food for them Friday.
If you'd like to donate money to help Noble Evangelistic Ministries pay its debt, visit the Greater Chicago Food Depository at 4100 W. Ann Lurie Dr., Chicago and donate to account A01306.