Illinois, Greater Chicago Food Depository distributing free milk to low-income families, individuals

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Illinois Department of Human Services and the Greater Chicago Food Depository have partnered to distribute free milk to families at local IDHS offices. Milk will be distributed from Oct. 23 through March 2019.

"I'm happy for the people who can't buy milk on their own," said 12-year-old Brandy Kmak as she and her mother, Tracy Kmak, picked up three half-gallon jugs on Thursday. They were the first two clients who stopped by the Blue Island Illinois Department of Human Services Center.

"There's a lot of people who need extra help and they're afraid to ask and they can actually get it without even asking," Tracy Kmak said.

IDHS customers will be able to pick up milk in the parking lots of the six participating local offices during the six-month period. Food Depository trucks and vans will be located in IDHS office parking lots for two-hour periods on select dates each month. There is no need for IDHS customers to visit the office in order to receive the milk. They can go directly to the truck or van in the parking lot.

"Milk is something that a lot of families might not go out and get because it is a little bit more expensive in the stores, so we're happy to be able to provide this opportunity for free milk," Greater Chicago Food Depository Food Access Supervisor Kelsey Kyle said.

Jenelle January also took the time to take advantage.

"This is amazing because I know a lot people who can't make it though the month and their babies need milk, and this is really good for them," January said.

Milk will be available in skim, 1%, 2% and whole varieties dependent on availability. Customer volume will determine how many half-gallons can be distributed to each family. Any IDHS customer is eligible to receive the milk.

"Some people buy pop most of the time. This gives them an opportunity to come here and get some milk and begin the process of possibly make that a part of their regular grocery item," said William Willis, Blue Island IDHS local office administrator.

The milk is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

Participating IDHS Offices:
South Suburban, 3301 Wireton Rd., Blue Island, IL 60472
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Every Thursday through March 28

West Suburban, 2701 West Lake Street, Melrose Park, IL 60160
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month through March 20

Northwest FCRC, 4105 West Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60651
9 a.m.-11 a.m.
2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month through March 26, with the exceptions of Dec. 25 and Feb. 12

Lower North FCRC, 2650 West Fulton, Chicago, IL 60612
12 p.m.-2 p.m.

2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month through March 26

Roseland FCRC, 11203 South Ellis, Chicago, IL 60628
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month through March 27

Calumet Park, 839 W. 119th St., Chicago, IL 60643
9 a.m.-12 p.m.
1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month through March 19 with the exceptions of Nov. 6 and Jan. 1

"We're excited about this opportunity to get free milk out to our customers. We hope this will help their food budgets go a little further," said IDHS Secretary, James Dimas. "Our partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository allows us to ensure the milk is being distributed safely and efficiently."

"Among families we serve, fresh milk is one of the most in-demand grocery items," said Kate Maehr, Executive Director and CEO of the Food Depository. "This public-private collaboration between IDHS and the Food Depository will allow us to provide our neighbors with nutritious USDA milk throughout the fall and winter months."

Volunteers are needed to assist with milk distributions. Anyone interested in volunteering can visit to sign up.
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