Hunger in the United States took on a startling face during the pandemic. It was closer to home than we care to admit – our next-door neighbors, yoga buddies, friends and family. The emergency food system, made up of food banks and small local pantries, exceeded their capacity many times over. It was a call to action.
In Chicago, the Greater Chicago Food Depository not only met the heightened demand, but took decisive action that sets a new foundation for addressing food inequity in Black and Brown communities. With their funding partners, the Food Depository made 26 grants of $2.6MM for existing pantries, as well as four new pantries, to upgrade their operations in communities beset by racial disparities.
Now, our friends and neighbors who access pantries will be served with greater care and more dignity. VEGA Partners is proud to work with the Food Depository in designing an accelerated grant-making program and providing technical assistance to grantees.
The takeaway? Instead of only doing what worked before, the Food Depository took a decisive equity-centered lens to addressing hunger during the pandemic. It is this kind of courage that forges a new path of resilience for all of our communities.