Food Depository turns 30 amid growing need
In 1978, six people met in a dark church basement to discuss starting a food bank in Chicago similar to one in Phoenix that had been the nation’s first.
A year later, the Greater Chicago Food Depository was born — distributing 471,000 pounds of food from 22 donors in its first year.
Now in a state-of-the-art facility on the Southwest Side, the nonprofit agency this year is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Since opening its doors at the South Water Market in February 1979, the food bank has distributed 750 million pounds of food to Cook County residents.
Each year, it provides donated and purchased food to 500,000 people through its network of 600 food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.
This year, the depository has seen a 33 percent increase over 2008 in the number of people turning to its pantries, a sign of the gloomy economy, and continues to work to meet the growing need.
Those six people who met in the basement — Ann Connors, the Rev. Philip Marquard, Tom O’Connell, Gertrude Snodgrass, Robert W. Strube Sr. and Ed Sunshine — likely would be proud.
Monifa Thomas Augustine Colom checks an outgoing pallet Friday at the Greater Chicago Food Depository warehouse at 4100 W. Ann Lurie Pl.