DOLTON, Ill. (WLS) -- People patiently lined up inside their car in South Suburban Dolton while waiting for one of the 3,000 meals that were given out.
The 50-pound boxes of groceries were given to families as a means to provide food for Thanksgiving.
"It's been tough. My son had COVID. He just got out of the hospital a week ago. He was in the hospital for eight days with COVID, so it's been pretty, pretty difficult," said Gerald Williams, food recipient.
Food distribution increased on average 50% since Jan. at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. That figure went up 125% just for the month of November compared to the same time last year.
"People are turning to food pantries for the first time in their lives. This is unlike anything we've seen in our 41-year history," said Jim Conwell, Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Some of those struggling to put food on the table are the same people who prepare meals. This includes cooks and servers that rely on tips and have been either unemployed or underemployed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To ease some of the struggles, the Corner Store Deli in Austin, non-profit One Fair Wage partnered with Chef Ashley to provide meals for over 200 restaurant workers Wednesday.
"Everyone has to eat, so during this time, to provide meals for anyone that works in the front of the house, the back of the house, we're letting them know that we care about them and we're all in this together," said Chef Ashley Shannon, Ashley Eats.
For more information on where to donate food or find access to a meal, visit www.chicagosfoodbank.org.