The Food Depository has seen a significant increase in the need for food assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last week of March, food pantries in our network reported a 43 percent increase in the average number of households served and a 73 percent increase in the average number of individuals served compared to January 2020. These are just initial numbers, and we expect to see them grow even more in the coming weeks as the economic fallout of the pandemic continues.
A key priority for the Food Depository is to ensure food access points remain intact across Cook County to serve anyone in need. This is achieved through leveraging our existing network of agency partners, including pantries, youth-focused partners, soup kitchens and shelters. The Food Depository is committed to investing in our partners and offering the resources they need to serve everyone who walks through their doors, including financial assistance.
While it is too soon to fully understand the long-term impact of COVID-19, we anticipate a sharp increase in overall need. With recent business closures and adjusted operating hours, we know many people find themselves in need of accessing food resources and federal benefits, some of them for the first time in their lives.
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