Holiday Fitness Challenge Fund-Raiser — Greater Chicago Food Depository

As the fund-raising part of the Holiday Fitness Challenge, I would like Chicago Blue Dolphins to raise money for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. With the economy in the state that it’s in, stopping hunger over the holidays sounds like a pretty good thing for us to do for our community. We can think of it as “I’ll eat less to stay in swimming shape, and I’ll help bring food for those who need it.”

The Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago ’s food bank, is a nonprofit food distribution and training center providing food for hungry people while striving to end hunger in our community. The Food Depository distributes donated and purchased food through a network of 600 pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to 500,000 adults and children in Cook County every year. Last year, the Food Depository distributed 58 million pounds of nonperishable food and fresh produce, dairy products and meat, the equivalent of 119,000 meals every day. The Food Depository’s programs and services for children, older adults and the unemployed and underemployed address the root causes of hunger. For more information, log onto or call 773-247-FOOD.

I asked my donations contact at the Great Chicago Food Depository to give me some statistics to bring an aire of urgency to the situation. She passed along some pretty startling statistics:

  • The need continues: The Greater Chicago Food Depository established a new record for demand over the past 30 years in September, with 427,660 visits to our member pantries in Cook County. The tally narrowly topped July, which held the record at 426,898 visits. The first three months of the fiscal year are 26 percent ahead of last year’s pace in pantry visits, and 70 percent ahead of the pace of two years ago.
  • Challenging times: The poverty rates for Cook County (14.8 percent) and Chicago (20.6 percent) continue to rise and are higher than the national average (13.2 percent). The unemployment rate in Cook County was 10.6 percent in September, four percentage points higher than last year (6.6 percent), and higher than the national average (9.8 percent).
  • Food supply: The Food Depository distributed a record 58.3 million pounds of food during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. This fiscal year continues to reflect increased demand, having distributed 1.7 million more pounds than in the prior year period. Nutritious food is vital—produce is 23 percent of total distribution.
  • So, let’s get fired up to do some swimming over the next month and bring some food to the Chicago community at the same time.

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