Feed the Love: A look into the Greater Chicago Food Depository

ByJalyn Henderson WLS logo
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
A look into the Greater Chicago Food Depository
A look into the Greater Chicago Food Depository and how it's kept up with the demand for food in communities across Cook County during the pandemic.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- By June of 2020, the Greater Chicago Food Depository distributed 93 million pounds of food throughout Cook County. That equals more than 77 million meals.

That number continues to grow as the pandemic stretches on and the need in communities is stronger than ever.

"Since the pandemic started it's been really busy for us," Driver, Xavier Hernandez said. "So what I'll do is start up at 6 am, we'll deliver a product before we even start our regular day, do a regular day and sometimes we'll even have more to do after that."

It's a cycle truck drivers at the Greater Chicago Food Depository have been in non-stop since March.

"Normally we distribute between 150,000-200,000 pounds of food. We're now up to 300,000-400,000 pounds every single day," said Joe Rodriguez, senior director of operations.

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That means 10-12 hour days, 6 days a week for people like Xavier Hernandez and Larry Jones.

But they say the hard work and sacrifice are worth it.

"A lot of people need food and they rely on the food bank to put food out in the community," Jones said.

"You don't realize it until you see it first hand and you live it," Hernandez added. "Every day you see really long lines, I mean we're in a pandemic and people are lined up to get food."

For Jones, however, this mission to feed others is personal.

"As a kid, we struggled in our household with food insecurity, so I know what it's like not having food in the house. Every situation is different in families but everyone needs food," Jones said.

So he and his coworkers will continue to serve until their help is no longer needed.

"They are the people behind the scenes, they're the ones that do the work that no one gets to see," Rodriguez said. "It's not just a job. It's very important that we do this kind of work and we're going to be here to ensure that the job gets done until things get better. And we will get better."

You can help Feed the Love by donating to our virtual food drive.

If you're in need of food, you can call 773-247-FOOD or click here to locate a food pantry near you.