Cold-storage vans to help Greater Chicago Food Depository food pantries provide for south suburbs

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
New cold-storage vans to help suburban food pantries expand capacity
Three south suburban food pantries received new cold-storage vans to increase ability to serve customers.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Greater Chicago Food Depository cut the ribbon on three brand new cold-storage delivery vans on Tuesday.

"This project has come forward in a way that not only responded to the emergency of a pandemic but will help increase the supply of nutritious food and address the pandemic of hunger in the south and west suburbs of Cook County," Executive Director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository Kate Maehr said.

Cook County committed $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to make this happen.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) played integral roles in securing the funding for the food depository.

"We have come to the rescue of a lot of families and this is an indication that this is an investment and payoff for generations to come in this community." Durbin said.

The Greater Chicago Food pantry manages a network of over 800 food access sites.

The three sites receiving the new vans include:

- Grace United Church of Christ Food Pantry in Sauk Village.

- Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry in Oak Forest.

- St. Cletus Food Pantry in La Grange.

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Volunteers with Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry said the vans will help them deliver refrigerated food to their customers.

Food insecurity in Cook County remains a critical issue post-pandemic.

Cook County officials as of April 2024, over $825,000 of federal funding has been used to purchase and maintain the three new vans, cold storage equipment and shelving to create a higher quality shopping experience.

"Game changer indeed, especially for the south suburban community," Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry volunteer Pastor Jeff Newton said. "People think there isn't a need there but there is a tremendous need in the south suburban community."

Cook County officials said remaining funds will support food access sites throughout suburban Cook County.

To find a food pantry near you, click here.