Mazda Foundation Awards Grants to Chicago Area Food Banks


The Mazda Foundation (USA) Inc., announces a total of $30,000 in grants to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Northern Illinois Food Bank to help the organizations meet unprecedented demand for food caused by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each Chicago-area organization received $15,000 from the Mazda Foundation. The funds will enable the Greater Chicago Food Depository to serve 45,000 meals to Chicago-area residents. It also will allow the Northern Illinois Food Bank to purchase $120,000 of groceries for distribution to residents of 13 counties across Northern Illinois.

The awards to the Food Depository and Food Bank are two of nine grant awards that the Mazda Foundation made this month to address food insecurity in six major metropolitan areas across the United States. In total, the grants will enable the awardees to serve an estimated 730,000 meals in the next 12 months.

“We’ve never seen such a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking emergency food assistance,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “We’re immensely grateful for the Mazda Foundation’s generous support in helping us to meet the need.”

The Food Depository’s network of food pantries and similar programs has served an average of 120 percent more people in need when compared to January, according to recent data.

“We are so grateful that corporate partners like the Mazda Foundation continue to step up and come alongside us to support our neighbors during this prolonged season of unprecedented need,” said Julie Yurko, president and CEO of Northern Illinois Food Bank. “The support of our community ensures we will be able to continue meeting the needs of our neighbors as they recover from the health and economic impacts of the pandemic over the next year and beyond.”

Food banks across the country have been stretched thin by the impact of the pandemic, with demand up 60 percent since March. Feeding America estimates that one in six Americans are at risk of facing hunger this year.

In addition to the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Northern Illinois Food Bank, the Mazda Foundation awarded grants to the following organizations: Bracken’s Kitchen (Garden Grove, California); Second Harvest Food Bank (Irvine, California); Houston Food Bank (Houston, Texas); North Texas Food Bank (Plano, Texas); Central Texas Food Bank (Austin, Texas); Food Bank of North Alabama (Huntsville, Alabama); and Flemington Area Food Pantry (Flemington, New Jersey).

“The pandemic has created enormous need in communities across the country,” said Jeff Guyton, president of Mazda North American Operations and chairman of the Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc. “Addressing a fundamental need like food security is a clear expression of the Mazda Foundation’s guiding principle that what matters most is one another.”

About Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc.
As the corporate foundation of Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), the Mazda Foundation has donated more than $13 million to children’s organizations, educational scholarships, food banks, environmental programs, and disaster relief efforts since 1992. To learn more about the Mazda Foundation, please visit https://www.mazdafoundation.org.

About 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 more than 700 partner organizations and programs – food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, mobile distributions and other partners – working to bring food, dignity and hope 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 https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org.

About Northern Illinois Food Bank
Northern Illinois Food Bank, Illinois’s largest food bank by distribution and the food bank for the suburbs of Chicago, is a non-profit organization that has engaged the community in creating access to nutritious groceries for neighbors in need since 1983. Through its Centers in Geneva, Park City, Rockford and Joliet, and through its network of more than 900-member food pantries and feeding sites, the Food Bank distributed more than 80 million meals last year—the equivalent of 220,000 meals daily—across its 13-county service area. Learn how to give help or get help today at https://solvehungertoday.org, or call (630) 443-6910. Northern Illinois Food Bank is a proud member of Feeding America.

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