Cook County Celebrates New Cold-Storage Delivery Vans for Suburban Food Pantries

(COOK COUNTY, IL) – Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, Cook County Commissioners Donna Miller and Alma Anaya, local elected officials, and leadership from the Greater Chicago Food Depository and three suburban food pantries on April 2 to celebrate the unveiling of new cold-storage vans that will increase pantry capacity to serve their customers. 

“Food insecurity in Cook County remains a critical, elevated issue for our communities. In February of this year, one in five households (19.6 percent) in the Chicago metro area, and one in four households with children (26 percent) faced food insecurity,” said President Preckwinkle. “I believe access to food is a human right. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, no one should go hungry, and no one should face food insecurity.”

Using funds allocated to Cook County from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the County committed $2 million to facilitate increased access to and capacity of suburban food pantries through a partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which manages a network of over 800 food access sites. To date, over $825,000 has been used to purchase and maintain the three new delivery vans, cold-storage equipment and shelving to create a healthier and higher quality shopping experience. Remaining funds will go toward the continued support of food-access sites throughout suburban Cook County.

Three food access sites - Grace United Church of Christ Food Pantry in Sauk Village; Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry in Oak Forest; and St. Cletus Food Pantry in La Grange - will receive the new vans. The vans will feature cold-storage equipment, allowing for the safe delivery of fresh produce, dairy and other food products to customers’ homes or other pantries.

“The need for food remains high in our community—we see it every day,” said Annie Hill, coordinator at Hattie B. Williams Food Pantry. “The refrigerated vans enable us to supplement the nutritious food we already receive from the Food Depository with the quality, unsold food that we collect from local grocers for our pantry guests, as well as for other nearby pantries. Cold-storage vehicles will be a gamechanger for us in the summer because it’ll mean fresh produce will remain fresh while they’re transported to their pantry destinations.”

In total, the program, established in 2022, has invested in 35 food-partner sites, helping to distribute over 4.6 million pounds of fresh food to over 32,600 households.

“Many communities that have endured years of systemic inequity and disinvestment are not recovering from the impacts of the pandemic as quickly as others due to a lack of access to resources. At a time when many families are still struggling to put food on the table, these ARPA funds will help expand access to nutritious food for households in the south and west suburbs of Cook County by strengthening new and existing food distribution partnerships and programs,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “The Food Depository is grateful to Cook County for investing in the emergency food system so that we can maximize our impact in communities and serve more of our neighbors.”

Nationally and in the Chicago metro area, Black and Latino/a/e families with children are disproportionately affected by hunger. In January and February of 2024, 35 percent of Black households with children and 33 percent of Latino/a/e households with children in the Chicago metro area experienced food insecurity. This is in comparison with 18 percent of white households with children.

To watch the press conference celebrating the ribbon cutting, click here.


About Cook County

Cook County is the second largest county in the United States, representing 5.2 million residents in Illinois. The President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Cook County and oversees the Offices Under the President (OUP), which includes the Bureau of Economic Development (BED). Learn more at

About the Greater Chicago Food Depository

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, believes a healthy community starts with food. The Food Depository is at the center of a network of 800 partner organizations and programs – food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile distributions and other partners – working to bring food and opportunity to our neighbors across Chicago and Cook County. The Food Depository addresses the root causes of hunger with job training, advocacy and other innovative solutions. The Food Depository is a proud member of Feeding America – the national network of food banks. Learn more at


News Rooms

Press Room

Media Contact