Food De­pos­i­tory turns 30 amid grow­ing need

Chicago Sun-Times - - News -

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.

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